Archive for farmer

Collateralized Farmers

Posted in Ecological resilience, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2014 by Rob Wallace

In the course of his sensational exposé of Big Meat, of which I’m still in the midst, Christopher Leonard falls upon both a solution to a mystery central to influenza epizoology and a foundational admission on the part of the poultry industry.

It’s common knowledge that agribusiness are vertically integrated. All nodes of poultry or pig production are placed here in the States under each of the Big Five’s roofs. Cargill, Smithfield, JBS Swift, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Tyson raise their birds and hogs and beef from fertilization to freezer.

But that isn’t quite correct. “There is one link in the chain that Tyson [much as the other companies] has decided not to own,” Leonard writes, Continue reading

Flu the Farmer

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by Rob Wallace

Broiler explosion11In our H7N9 post we described the possibility reducing finishing time may select for greater virulence in influenzas. That is, reducing the age at which poultry are sacrificed may select for increasing the damage influenza incurs.

There may be immunological fallout as well,

By increasing the throughput speed, and reducing the age of food animals at slaughter, the livestock industry may also be selecting for strains able to transmit in the face of younger, more robust immune systems, including, should spillover occur, in humans.

Continue reading