Over 700 wild black vultures died in Georgia after the bird flu broke out and infected the animals at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. Newsweek reported that the dead vultures were found on August 13, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that this year, over 2,100 wild birds and over 40 million poultry have been detected with this dangerous influenza.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary was placed under quarantine by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. In a statement obtained by Newsweek, the organization said, “As a natural disease event, the site needs to be contained, cleaned up and then sanitized/disinfected. We are at the contained stage. But our State Agency partners are and will lead clean up and sanitization. They will lead full vulture removal and roost removal and sanitation.”
“Noah’s Ark is and will remain in close collaboration with authorities as they lead the charge to manage this,” the statement said. “As a precaution the affected birds on the property have been depopulated. Officials are testing and monitoring other birds within the surveillance area and no other birds have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs.”
Just this year, 45 states have reported cases of bird influenza. Since the devastating avian influenza outbreak in 2014 and 2015, experts have been concerned about how fast avian influenza is killing birds. The outbreak was one of the most destructive in the nation’s history. The price of poultry and eggs skyrocketed, it cost the industry more than $3 billion, and nearly 50 million birds were killed. But just as the government always does, it protected this cruel industry and compensated farms for the lost flock.
The government could be spending that money to prevent future outbreaks by changing factory farming practices and making the bird population more diverse. The real issue is the way that commercial factory farms run. The industry relies on genetically identical animals confined in inhumanly small spaces. It is now estimated that all nine billion chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. each year can trace their lineage back to a handful of breeds.
These chickens have been manipulated over generations to grow at incredibly unnatural speeds and become larger than they ever have. According to The Humane League, chickens today are more than four times the size they were just 60 years ago. The lack of genetic diversity poses a massive threat to the industry and makes the animals more susceptible to outbreaks. It is a threat to public health.
This article by Hailey Kanowski was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 26 August 2022. Lead Image Source : Sunshower Shots/Shutterstock.
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