CNN reports that
is seeing a spike in the number of deaths due to the H5N1 strain
of bird flu. In a related case, Cambodia
recently slaughtered more than 1 million chickens infected
with the H7N3 strain of bird flu. Despite the increase in bird flu in Mexico , H5N1
is currently not very contagious among humans (most people who contracted the
virus were in direct contact with sick farmed animals), and H7N3 is not known
to cause harm to humans. Cambodia
In spite of our current low risk, it is just a matter of time before H5N1, H7N3 or another influenza strain evolves into a dangerous form that results in a pandemic. And the events in
beg the question: Are we ever going to be safe from bird flu? Cambodia
As long as we continue to treat animals raised for food poorly, the answer is a definite "no."
We are consuming more animals than ever before. Once viewed as a luxury, meat is now becoming a dietary staple for many due to a worldwide growth in urbanized populations and affluence. Today, more than 64 billion animals are raised and killed for food worldwide annually (1).
To meet this demand, the industry has chosen to sacrifice the space and well-being of animals in the name of efficiency. Farmed animals are treated as "production units" and are denied their most basic needs. The overwhelming majority of animals raised for food are housed in extremely filthy, overcrowded conditions without access to fresh air, sunlight, or room to move about normally. This demand-driven transformation of animal agriculture is so dramatic that it has been dubbed the "Livestock Revolution" (2).