Archive for Arkansas

H5N2 Much

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2015 by Rob Wallace

John Gaps III AP Rose Acre Farms, IowaA week from Thursday, June 11, I’ll be talking about the H5N2 bird flu outbreak here in the Midwest at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minneapolis. Find out the details here. All are welcome.

Midwest bird flu: A diseconomy of industrial poultry

Industrial turkey and chicken in Minnesota, and other states Midwest and South, have been hit by a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza A (H5N2). Millions of birds have been killed by the virus or culled in an effort to control the outbreak.

In its efforts to protect a $265.6-billion-a-year industry, the poultry sector has laid blame upon farm workers and wild waterfowl. In actuality, H5N2 demonstrates poultry production is defined by inherent diseconomies of scale it survives solely by externalizing the resulting damage to consumers, workers, governments and the environment. In a market economy, such costs, moved back onto company margins, would end the industry as we know it.

We will review the mechanisms by which poultry’s bioeconomics is thought sooner than later to select a deadly disease with the potential for killing millions of people worldwide. We will also address what an alternate food landscape might look like.

You can find a video of the half-hour talk here.

Fearful Symmetry

Posted in Ecological resilience with tags , , , , on January 5, 2011 by Rob Wallace

A colleague, genuinely perplexed, even outraged, asked me what the fuck was going on with all those dead birds in Arkansas. And, he added tongue-in-cheek, what would Mulder and Scully say about them?

Scully: Mulder, it’s me. I got your message. Really, Beebe, Arkansas for a flock of dead birds? Did Skinner approve this?

Mulder [eating sunflower seeds]: There may be more afoot, or a-wing, Scully. I emailed you your boarding pass.

Scully: Are you suggesting that these die-offs are anything but a statistical anomaly? Die-offs occur routinely enough that overlaps are inevitable. As for their specific causes, preliminary autopsies indicate the blackbirds suffered trauma. They were probably startled awake by a night storm or New Year’s fireworks and hit by lightening or hail or, disoriented, each other.

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