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North Carolina to suspend sales of live poultry for five months amidst bird flu outbreak

Bird flu

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(NaturalNews) The country's fourth largest producer of chickens for meat and the third largest producer of turkeys is responding to the ongoing bird flu scare by shutting down all shows and sales of live poultry beginning in mid-August. North Carolina State Veterinarian Doug Meckes says the move is necessary to thwart a potential outbreak of bird flu in the Southern U.S., where no cases of the disease have been reported yet.

With a rising death toll of some 50 million birds nationally -- only a tiny fraction of which actually had bird flu; the rest were slaughtered out of "precaution" -- the ongoing bird flu crisis is having a significant impact on the U.S. poultry industry. If media rhetoric continues as it has, many more birds are likely to be put down before health authorities abandon their reactionary approach and start considering a more rational plan of action that doesn't involve destroying the entire poultry industry.

Nevertheless, the News & Observer reports that North Carolina's ban on live poultry shows and sales will take place during the five-month period between August 15 and January 15, which is when waterfowl migrate from northern regions to the South. It is during this time that Meckes believes North Carolina's poultry animals face the highest risk of contracting bird flu from wild birds.

Consequently, the North Carolina State Fair, which takes place in October, will not be featuring any poultry exhibits this year, despite having more than 300 poultry entries last year. Wake County's 4-H Youth Development program, which teaches families and children how to raise chickens, will also be barred from presenting any live poultry at the event.

"I think it's very sad on the kids' behalf," stated Heather Schaffer, who heads the 4-H program, to the News & Observer. "You might not be happy that you don't get to show your chicken, but it's part of being a responsible animal keeper," she added, in support of the ban.

Bird flu fear-mongering threatens North Carolina's $18 billion poultry industry; is it really even a threat to chickens?

Whether prohibiting chickens at the North Carolina State Fair will have any real impact on preventing the spread of bird flu appears to be irrelevant as states increasingly opt to do anything whatsoever that might address the potential threat. However, the sad fact is that making these types of reactionary decisions can be disastrous for local and regional economies.

North Carolina's commercial poultry industry is worth about $18 billion, according to Meckes, which would translate into major economic losses if masses of birds end up being slaughtered due to detected bird flu or even just a hysterical hunch. The strange thing is that Meckes and others are already telling media sources that bird flu will hit the state at some point in the near future.

"We believe that we will face an outbreak of high-path avian influenza in the coming fall season," Meckes stated to ABC11.com, adding that it's not a matter of if the virus will hit the Southeast, but when.

How can he possibly know this for sure? It seems rather irresponsible to make such a declaration when the viability of a major industry in your state is at stake. There's a chance that bird flu might just pass right over the South, just like other bird flu scares in the past, so why not say that bird flu could hit North Carolina while suggesting ways that people can help protect their broods?

A commenter on one news site who claims to have previously owned the largest rare breed hatchery in the South says "bird flu" is a migratory waterfowl disease that's "been around since the beginning of time." He writes that chickens rarely catch it and that it only occurs when they consume blood or body tissue that has been infected with it, which is extremely uncommon.





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