Deadly H5N1 avian influenza strain detected on mainland Antarctica

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza was detected in two brown skua at the western side of Antarctica, near South America. The disease has killed millions of birds and thousands of mammals around the world. The flu could devastate animal populations across Antarctica and possibly make it to Australia.

Over 85 million chickens, turkeys, and other poultry birds have died in the U.S. since the avian influenza outbreak started two years ago. In the egg and poultry industry, it is standard protocol to cull every animal in a facility where the virus has been detected and dispose of their bodies. In factory farms, that can mean millions of birds at once.

But that’s not all. Thousands of wild birds and mammals have perished from the disease, including condors, eagles, sea lions, and even a polar bear. It has reached multiple continents, including Antarctica. And more recently, it has even sickened dairy cows across eight states and one farm worker.

While much of the media focuses on transmission from wild birds, we cannot forget that factory farms create prime conditions for deadly viruses to emerge and multiply. The crowded, stressful and unsanitary environments in factory farms enable viruses to easily spread and mutate into more contagious and harmful strains. But instead of minimizing disease risk by addressing the poor living conditions, the industry has opted to mass kill the animals instead, often with inhumane methods, to stop the virus from spreading. But it’s not working—not only are birds dying needlessly, but the virus is continuing to spread, harming wild animals as well in the biggest bird flu outbreak on record.

Animals are sick and dying. We must eliminate factory farming to eliminate this disease and prevent more outbreaks from happening.

Tell Congress to stop investing in factory farms and to transition to safer, more humane food production.

Comment: This was an email I received today from “Compassion in World Farming” as part of their campaign to end factory farming and the animal cruelty this practice causes. The emails are a result of my signing a petition years ago in support of better treatment for chickens. The issue struck me due to my first paying job as a farm hand on the Roaring Brook Poultry Farm. I was paid $1.50 an hour cash money from the pocket of Mr. Arthur Schweitzer to my pocket. This was when minimum wage was $1.60 an hour.

Mr. Schweitzer was no bleeding heart liberal, but by God he cared for the welfare of the chickens on his farm… right up to the day he would sell off the old hens to the Campbell Soup Company. His chickens were cage free. The coops were large with sufficient nesting boxes and roosting areas. While gathering eggs from the nesting boxes, I was taught by Mr. Schweitzer to be gentle in reaching under the hens and learn to endure their pecking at the back of my hand like a man. I grew to love those hens, especially the Rhode Island Reds.

This email from CWF points out the growing risks from the spread of bird flu. It affects a lot more than the price of eggs and chicken wings. The culling of flocks and herds is an age old farming practice. I doubt it will ever go away. But the practice of factory farming is a recipe for disaster. It’s akin to banging oneself over the head with a ball peen hammer and wondering why you have a splitting headache and blood flowing down your face. Factory farming is a monopoly that threatens far more than our economic well being. It affects the health and lives of millions of animals, our health and lives along with the souls of all living things.

BTW, don’t feel pressured in any way about telling Congress to stop factory farming by that embedded link. Follow your conscience.


This entry was posted in fauna, Health Care, Nature, TTG. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Deadly H5N1 avian influenza strain detected on mainland Antarctica

  1. gordon reed says:

    Signed and sent

  2. Fred says:

    That Avian Flu is back! Just in time for the election. The poor antarctic polar bear died of avian flu. And after surviving ice melting from the global warming followed up by the climate change ice melt too. Yawn. Why didn’t we hear of this group when the largest factory farming outfit around, communist China, was buying up farm industries in the this country? It couldn’t be that the Managing Director of Citi’s Investment Banking division who is also a professional singer had a conflict of interest.

    Instead of a donation I do suggest that they could save a lot of money if they were not headquartered in the farming heartland of America known as Manhattan.

    • TTG says:


      First, as I’m sure you know, Polar Bears are in the Arctic, not the Antarctic. Second, China has only bought up 1% of our foreign owned agricultural land. Canada accounts for 32%, or 14.2 million acres. Rounding out the top five are the Netherlands at 12%, Italy at 6%, the United Kingdom at 6% and Germany at 5%. China owns Smithfield so you know they’re factory farming pigs.

      Given what’s covered in the press, I am surprised that China doesn’t own more. Arkansas has recently banned foreign ownership. Other states may follow suit.'s%20actually%20Canada%2C%20which%20accounts,%25%20and%20Germany%20at%205%25.

      • Fred says:


        You mean the Arctic didn’t melt either? Will climate scam wonders never cease.

        Why does China need to own any land here? All they need to do is bribe some EPA flunkies and fund some Eco-profs and assorted NGOs. We’ll have regulations galore to shut our own down and rely on imports, which thanks to Congress don’t even need to be labeled as such. Much cheaper that way.

    • Jaye says:

      Seems I recall when they demanded California farm chickens have keys to the back door in order to “free range” or else, they all stayed huddled together and did not venture out that much after all.

      But greenies demanded the chickens needed to at least know they could go out the door, if they wanted to.

      The chickens were not polled (pun ha ha) so we don’t know how they felt about this, just that they did not walk with their gnarly chicken feet when offered their newly mandated chance.

  3. leith says:

    All that pigshit from Smithfield’s factory farms ends up in streams, creeks & eventually rivers & lakes & oceans. Evil stuff! Full of viruses & bacteria; hormones & antibiotics; ammonia & hydrogen sulfide; trace minerals like arsenic for one; plus nitrogen and phosphorus causing algae blooms which turn into death zones for fish & shellfish.

    Samo-samo for those mega feedlots for cattle – and the chicken warehouses that also breed the avian flu.

  4. Jaye says:

    There are now so many “saved whales” plying the world’s oceans they are now competing for the krill with the penguins, who do live in Antarctica, are now starving.

    But assume the penguins 50 million years of evolution will find away to adapt to these new challenges. And have a whale of time trying. Free-range penguins also cluster into tight flocks too, even though there are still some wide open spaces down there you will find them mainly in very tight groups.

    They haven’t gotten the message yet — free range or die. Let my penguins go.

  5. F&L says:

    Finally – The Eggman (TTG) has surfaced. Walrus we’ve known about. Semolina Pilchard can’t be too far behind. Who is Sargent Pepper?

    I Am the Walrus – The Beatles:
    I am the eggman, (Ooh)
    They are the eggmen, (Ooh)
    I am the walrus,
    Goo goo g’ joob.

    • TTG says:


      Now that’s the witty and brilliant F&L I’ve grown accustomed to.

      • TTG says:

        And I might add, “Umpa, umpa, stick it up your jumper.”

        Either I or my sister bought that album back in the day. I remember the “I killed Paul” conspiracy on the radio back then.

        • F&L says:

          I don’t recall the I killed Paul stuff but I do remember my college dorm mates playing on of the Beatles Albums backwards on their turntables and explaining that they could hear “Paul is dead.” I wonder if I had the presence of mind to ask them what that section sounded like on forward at the normal 33rpm? Freshman year turned into an almost complete joke due to the Kent State shootings, many of the courses defaulted to pass / fail with optional attendance.

          • TTG says:


            I don’t know if I have that album anymore. I do remember the end of song (I don’t remember which one) sounded like backwards gibberish and did make sense when played backwards. I remembered it as I killed Paul for some reason, but I guess it was “Paul is dead” on one and “I buried Paul” on another. I think the whole thing was another joke by the Beatles just like “I am the Walrus” was a joke aimed at people trying to read too much into their songs. I think i was still in grammar school at the time, or just starting high school.

          • F&L says:

            I am the Walrus is from the Magical Mystery Tour Album released in Nov 1967 (I looked it up). I was in High School. Abbey Road was 1969 when I was in college and it was the most recently released Beatles album when the May 1970 Kent State shootings happened. My entire dorm was plastered with posters of Che Guevara and LBJ. I was quite naive and a bit shocked at the prevalence of Che worship. LBJ was gone by Jan 1969 but was deeply hated by the students on most liberal college campuses – he was blamed for the war. Nixon got into deep s&&t over Kent State. I remember my draft number – 11. The guys on my hallway wept for me. Senior year I was instructed by mail to report for a physical but there was no follow up and we were all assured that the draft was finished … my dad told me that the draft would end well before it did and told me on the same afternoon as when he told me that Israel had aquired nukes. He was a nuclear physicist and chairman of a big physics department and the fbi were always around. I remember him telling me they were inquiring, amongst other things, about Intel that said the Israelis were able to separate Uranium isotopes in a lab small enough for a normal basement by using lasers to ionize the U atoms. I was just a kid and shocked that he shared something like that with me. I was even more shocked when he told me that Israel had nuclear weapons. I almost thought the world ended. So he told me what may have been a lie to reassure me. He claimed that the USA and USSR had come to a secret agreement to the effect that if Israel ever used a nuclear weapon, then the US and USSR would both nuke Israel. Then he told me the draft would end, which also worried me. He said it boded very poorly and that the US would as a result soon go the way of Rome – corruption, loss of freedoms etc. He also said “I never realized you were so conservative, F&L.” Well, the draft did end. Was he correct about the nuking of Israel if they used their nukes? I don’t know but why not at least tell the Israelis that was the deal (?) – it might prevent use.

          • LeaNder says:

            The guys on my hallway wept for me.

            They shouldn’t have, since after all you did not wind up in Vietnam as part of the fighting fight but whatever branch of the army. Logistics?

            Your father managed to get you out?

          • LeaNder says:

            fighting fight should have been fighting force.

    • leith says:

      I was never a Beatles fan. Never understood the mania. Many of their early songs were stolen or ‘borrowed’ from MoTown or Nashville or the Rock&Roll scene.

      • TTG says:


        I first heard of the Beatles in 4th grade for a British penpal. This was at least a year before they came to the States. At the time I told him about my favorite music group, the Limeliters. Still like them.

  6. optimax says:

    The rumor was proof Paul was dead because he wasn’t wearing shoes on the album cover. Never made sense that he could walk while dead. But we were all stoned on Afghan hash. I was a freshman at Ohio University when the four were killed in Ohio. That’s when the peaceful marches turned into full riots. One night a Marxist Jewish kid came into my dorm room and told us we need to get violent to close the school down so we go to our cities and persuade the workers to join the cause and go on strike.
    I told him he was crazy, hadn’t he seen the newsreels of the hard hat construction works pummeling the long hair demonstrators in Chicago? My neighbor at home was a union carpenter with the largest house on the block he had built himself, two cars and boat. It was 1970 and life was good for the working man. He was living the worker’s paradise. No reason to give that up. I hated it when school closed and we were given 24 hours to get out of town. I hated the brats that closed the school early for their stupid Marxist cause. They must all have become teachers.

    • LeaNder says:

      Never made sense that he could walk while dead. But we were all stoned on Afghan hash. I was a freshman at Ohio University when the four were killed in Ohio.

      Hmm, you were? We had our martyrs too. I was a bit late to witness events, though. Here CSNY Ohio:

      Benno Ohnesorge was shot during the protests against Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. That happened when Magical Mystery Tour and/or I am the Walrus were released in 1967:

      In 71/72 I lived in a student village in Berlin on the same floor as someone closely connected to the anti-Shaw protests, but I only realized it a lot later. At the time, I was only interested in his pistachios. He always had a huge bowl of them in his room. He was a lot older than me, almost like a father:

      Back in Germany in 1965, “Nirumand received a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for a postdoctoral thesis on Goethe and Hafiz. In the spring of 1967, his book Persien, Modell eines Entwicklungslandes oder Die Diktatur der freien Welt [Persia, a model of a developing nation or the dictatorship of the Free World], inspired by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, was published, selling over 150,000 copies in the course of the year and strongly influencing the West German student movement. Immediately before the Shah’ s state visit on 1 June 1967, Nirumand gave a highly acclaimed lecture as a guest speaker at the Free University of Berlin on the Shah’s regime, which contributed to the mobilization for the demonstration in West Berlin on 2 June 1967.”

      • optimax says:


        There is evidence that a student undercover agent freaked out and shot a revolver four times in the air and ground before the National Guard, thinking the were being shot at, started shooting.

      • Fred says:


        Which Germany were you in? If the West which part of Berlin, UK, US, French or UK?

        • LeaNder says:

          Fred, dear, maybe I misunderstand, but how do you imagine the to be denazified citizen of Western Berlin could have developed an awareness of who exactly controlled their respective street and at what points they were moving from US to France or UK controlled streets or quarters?

          You consider it possible the US did sponsor or could have sponsored a “student village” in Eastern Berlin?

          • TTG says:

            Fred and LeaNder,

            I do think the sectors controlled by the French, Brits and US were invisible to most even in the ’60s. That was the case by 1990. I know that “student village” area well. I did a hell of a lot of work throughout Berlin, both East and West. It all came in handy when I chaperoned my oldest son’s German class on a trip there. I gave them a spy’s tour without telling them it was a spy’s tour.

          • Fred says:


            I never pictured you as old enough to be nazified. Red Brigaded maybe, but not nazified. Just curious if it had be Soviet or not. Certainly not Americanized hippie of the ’60s.

          • LeaNder says:

            Red Brigaded maybe

            Yes, I guess that’s why our late host invited you into our email conversation, without asking me. Second opinion?

            I have to disappoint you, not even close. …

            But then, can you even imagine what it meant to born into Germany post 1933-45? …

Comments are closed.