Bird Flu Is Spreading in the United States for the First Time Since 2020
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Bird Flu Is Spreading in the United States for the First Time Since 2020

Last month, bird flu was detected in the United States for the first time since 2020. The aggressive disease emerged at commercial poultry farms in Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Dr. Denise Heard, vice president of research for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, stated:

It’s definitely considered a period of high risk now that we have a confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the commercial poultry industry.

Bird flu—also known as avian flu or avian influenza—is caused by a virus that spreads easily among birds. The H5N1 virus is particularly contagious and has run rampant in factory farms, where chickens, turkeys, and other birds are forced to live practically on top of one another.

This most recent wave in the country was detected on February 7, when a farmer in Indiana found about 100 of his birds dead and the surviving animals in a weakened state. A lab at Purdue University and a USDA lab in Iowa confirmed that bird flu was the culprit. Since then, tens of thousands of factory-farmed chickens and turkeys across three states have tested positive for the virus.

Infected—and potentially infected—chickens and turkeys continue to be killed en masse in an effort to slow the spread. In Kentucky, around 240,000 chickens owned by Tyson Foods tested positive and were killed. This is the first time the virus has been detected in the state.

What This Means

The meat industry not only spreads diseases but creates them. Three out of four emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic—meaning they pass to humans from other animals. Additionally, the meat industry prioritizes profits over all else, and animals are kept in cramped, filthy conditions. In these environments, viruses behind swine flu and avian flu spread easily and rapidly from animal to animal.

Together, we can withdraw our support from this dangerous industry. Download our free veg starter guide to begin working toward a kinder, safer food system today.