Make It Your Book!

Twenty-nine thousand hits in a little over two years. Not bad for a microblog. But it hasn’t been about the numbers (let’s hope not!). We here at ‘Farming Pathogens’ have much appreciated your thoughtful comments and questions, as well as your encouragement.

Today we are asking for a touch more.

We’ve just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for completing a book based on the blog–largely on influenza and agribusiness. We are asking for contributions through our RocketHub site (which works a lot like Kickstarter).  We are also asking that you share the site’s link through your social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and–old school–your friends around the lunch table.

Your contributions will help finish a project long underway. We’re about six months from completion and have lined up a major name to write the preface.

Where do the new influenzas come from?

As many of you who regularly read the blog already know, the influenza scares of the past decade aren’t going away anytime soon. Bird flu H5N1 and swine flu H1N1 are only two of a veritable menagerie of xenospecific influenza strains now circulating: H7N1, H7N3, H7N7, H9N2, in all likelihood H5N2, and perhaps some of the H6 series.

To a one these have emerged out of livestock, and with good reason.

The livestock sector has been increasingly organized worldwide under an agribusiness model that has reorganized stockbreeding in its entirety. Genetic monocultures. Confined animal feedlots. Consolidated megafarms. Vaccines and antibiotics. Sped-up finishing times. Globally extended commodity chains. Highly capitalized operations vertically integrated from fertilization to freezer. Price spikes fueled by equity speculation, threatening farmers and food security alike.

There is considerable evidence the new influenzas have emerged hand-in-hoof with the new agriculture. Considerable evidence but little discussion out in the open.

All welcome!
Your support would be appreciated and any contribution is welcome. We’ll be offering rewards for your help, including an excerpt before publication, a signed copy upon publication, access to an intimate reading in one of a number of cities, and, finally, special thanks in the book itself.

Perhaps more importantly, your contribution will make it your book! Once published it will likely have an impact on the debate about agriculture and disease.

We dodged a bullet when swine flu H1N1 proved less virulent than first feared. We may not be so lucky next time, and there will almost certainly be a next time. An unlikely event with near-infinite chances across metropolises of pig and poultry becomes nigh on inevitable. Supporting a book which aims arguments directly at the source of the problem betters the odds.

Thank you for your support!

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