Disagreement over confinement facilities and bird flu

by 5m Editor
23 March 2007, at 11:43am

IOWA - A Humane Society official has condemned the poultry industry on for creating large confinements that he said could create "the perfect storm" of conditions to spark a large-scale avian flu pandemic. However, poultry industry representatives say the opposite is actually true - that confinements make a disease outbreak less likely.

Dr. Michael Greger, director of public health at the Humane Society of the United States, spoke to Iowa State University students over the noon hour Thursday. He said he believes large poultry confinements are conducive to the spread of avian flu.

"The poultry industry is not only playing with fire," Greger told students at ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine. "They are fanning the flames."

In response, a chicken industry spokesman said such confinements actually make an avian-flu outbreak less likely here. "The reason we put these birds in these facilities is to protect them," said Kevin Vinchattle, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association.

The issue is crucial in Iowa, which leads the nation in egg production. Most of those eggs come from large confinement operations.

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5m Editor