The USDA has officially sanctioned “ventilation shutdown” as a “depopulation” response to poultry houses diagnosed with the latest avian flu. (Page 15) Confined poultry operators can literally turn off fans and air conditioning until the 20,000 birds fatally overheat over a timeframe of 40-60 minutes.
To be fair, they do note that it is not the preferred method and would rather suffocate flocks with foam or carbon dioxide since those are the [direct quote] “the most human and effective methods”. (Page 15)
Also of note is how the USDA continuously blames the spread of the virus on backyard/pastured poultry and wild birds and the interactions between the two. Very proudly, the USDA boast of all of the resources it is spending on conducting surveillance on backyard flocks and wild birds including this 5 page manual.
An industry that prides itself on control and biosecurity hangs on a thread at the whim of songbirds and migratory fowl. When will they admit their system doesn’t work? When will tax payers grow tired of pouring money into this failed system both in the form of subsidies as well as expensive meat and eggs following every disease outbreak? And when will people fear for having a secure source of food?
Is cutting off the supply of clean air to 20,000 living creatures so they all die slowly an option in any healthy system? Even as a last resort it epitomizes the failures of the confines poultry practice.