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Update: Avian flu expands, Governor Dayton declares State of Emergency

by Dog Gone on April 23, 2015

No surprise, we have more bird flu in Minnesota, not only among turkey farms but now outbreaks at chicken farms.  Governor Dayton is releasing additional resources to combat the spread, up to and including making the National Guard units available to help.

 

Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency in Minnesota in response to the bird flu outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 2.6 million turkeys and has now spread to a chicken farm for the first time in the state.

The Star Tribune reports that the governor’s order activates “an emergency operations plan” to provide support to attempts to quell the outbreak, and also says that National Guard personnel can be mobilized if necessary.

It comes after chicken producer J&A Farms, near Detroit Lakes in northwestern Minnesota, became the first chicken farm in the state to confirm an infection of the deadly H5N2 virus, KSTP reports. The farm has 275,000 hens.

Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported the bird flu’s presence in 13 additional turkey flocks in Minnesota. That brought the state’s overall total to 44 across 15 counties.

The deadly avian flu has spread to 13 more Minnesota turkey farms, bringing the total number of birds affected to more than 2.5 million, the state Board of Animal Health announced.

…Since the outbreak of the virus in early March, 7.1 million turkeys and egg-laying chickens have been affected across the Midwest, The Associated Press reports.

Chicken operations in Iowa and Wisconsin have also been hit by the bird flu. There are 16 states now coping with the disease in commercial bird operations.

 

National  media is running headlines that McDonalds may experience supply problems, with ‘Chicken Mcnuggets as rare as hen’s teeth’.  I don’t eat them, but it occurs to me that might be the only silver lining of a serious global warming related economic disaster to our state and regional economies.  It is beginning to dawn on people that this will affect not only the price of turkey and chicken meat, but also the price of eggs — and presumably therefore a variety of the ‘golden starches’ breakfast menu items as well as the nuggets.
The economic impact goes far further afield than just fast food retailers.  The BBC is reporting protests against ongoing trade negotiations for US ag products to be marketed in Europe as a result of this outbreak.  As with past food safety and disease issues, such as the mad cow problems of some years back, a variety of nations are banning the shipment of poultry products while this epidemic continues.  having the reputation of unsafe or disease-ridden products is of course detrimental to the long term economic strength of our ag industry sector, and a serious concern for the entire country.

 

The head of the World Organisation for Animal Health tells us why this latest outbreak of bird flu has come as such a shock to US industry. Also, as the latest round of negotiations towards a new trade pact between Europe and the US get under way, we report on the opposition to the proposals, at a protest attended by Vivienne Westwood in London.

 

I documented here, on the 2015 celebration of Earth Day why this outbreak of avian flu is an issue of global warming, and the cause and effect link to rising temperatures and the spread of these kinds of disease, among both wildlife and domesticated animals, directly affecting our food supply and the affordability of the food we eat (not just fast food).  From the STrib

 

DES MOINES, Iowa — Some international trade partners are declining to buy egg and poultry products from states affected by a deadly strain of bird flu while others are excluding imports only from counties where the virus has surfaced.

Agriculture officials say the food supply is safe. But Mexico, Japan and Canada are among 33 countries declining to accept poultry products from entire states, including Iowa, the nation’s leading egg producer, and Minnesota, the top turkey grower in the U.S.

Other countries, including Hong Kong, limit the ban to counties where the virus has been confirmed.

 

Conservatives, who as a group receive enormous amounts of funding both directly and indirectly from fossil fuel sources, refuse to address the issue and actively obstruct others from addressing it.  Most recently we have a member of our state legislature doing exactly that, on the floor of the lege, while following the classic tactic of pretending that conservatives are somehow victims and martyrs  for believing things which are factually false – and seriously dangerous to all of us.  I would further posit that it is precisely to take positions that are factual and objective that these legislators are elected, and NOT to be faith based or phantasy driven in writing legislation, voting or formulating policy.  Hat tip to Bluestem Prairie and the Uptake for the video and news item on Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker.  This is EXACTLY what we do NOT need or want in response to the challenges of global warming.  This is the kind of failure to act and failure to think that is why we must oppose conservatives in any position of authority at any level of government, because of failing to address these issue in a manner that is rational, that is objective, that values science not religion as the basis for action.  If we wanted whining, we’d look for two year olds who missed their nap time.

 

Rep. Newberger grow a pair, and act your age.  You and the rest of the lege were elected to deal with these issues, to voice your opinions BASED ON FACTS NOT FAITH, and to do something about these kinds of problems on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota.  Pull up your big boy pants, buckle up your belt and if necessary add a pair of suspenders, but ditch the crap about being a victim.  DO SOMETHING about the very real problems of global warming; they are on our doorstep, right there where you live in Sherburne County.  But don’t kid yourself – something I suspect Newberger does often; the effects of this problem go much further afield than just Sherburne County, or the state boundaries, or even the national boundaries.  We can’t afford the kind of  political and ideological driven denial that we see next door in Wisconsin, courtesy of Koch brothers’ puppet Scott Walker as he trashes the state of Wisconsin, including by prohibiting any references or planning related to global warming.

 

 

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