Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bird Flu Disaster

Can we learn something from the recent and on-going Bird Flu disaster?  I believe we can learn that CAFO commercial chicken factories are defective, corrupt, and biosecurity disasters.

Bird Flu Risk for CAFO factory farms is 77 times higher than for small flock farms
How do we explain this?

In Ontario, Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") reported in 2014 there is 1,138 commercial CAFO mega chicken factories, but 15,500 small flock chicken farmers.  In Canada, there is about 2,700 CAFO commercial chicken farmers, but we estimate there are far more than 60,000 small flock poultry farmers.

The largest Ontario flock in CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) factory barns is around 200,000 birds.  However, a small flock can be just 2 birds.  In Ontario, half of the small flocks have less than 57 birds according to CFO's data.

According to USDA data, 85% of the Bird Flu infections occur for CAFO factory farms.  It is suggested the same ratio holds for Ontario and Canada.

As of today, USDA estimates that roughly 10 percent of egg-laying hens and 6 percent of live turkeys in the U.S. have died because of the virus

We will assume the the number of flocks that could be infected, multiplied by the Probability of infection, gives us the number of infected farms.  This is in accordance with typical disease spread modeling.  We assumed that 1 Small Flock becomes infected.  This indicates that 5.7 CAFO flocks will become infected, producing an 85% infection ratio for CAFO.

In spite of these flock ratios of between 13 to 22 to 1 (ie. an average of 17.5 small flocks for every commercial chicken factory in Ontario), the CAFO mega chicken factories have 85% of the Bird Flu outbreaks, a 1:5 ratio.

With a 17:1 flock ratio but a 1:5 Bird Flu infection ratio, it appears that the commercial CAFO factory farms have an Bird Flu infection rate 77.18 times higher than what the small flocks have. 

How do we explain this 77 time higher probability that CAFO chicken factories become infected?

It may be easy to assume that God has smitten the CAFO chicken farmer and Chicken Supply Management with a plague as retribution for their past sins.

However, there is an easier, and less judgmental answer.  The easiest explanation it that the CAFO chicken factories are defective, corrupt, and biosecurity disasters.

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