Will bird flu disrupt the Fall Fowl Fest?

by Howard Applegate
    According to folks who study the migration patterns of wild birds, we have about six months to a year before a deadly strain of avian flu begins to strike domestic fowl. Health experts are asking people to keep their birds indoors to avoid infection from the droppings of the migratory flocks. For many reasons, we can be relatively sure this will be an unsatisfactory solution.
    For instance, several local farmers who raise so-called “free-range” eggs and chemical-free chickens, claim that such a move will hurt their businesses, forcing them to treat their livestock in a manner inconsistent with their values. They point out, correctly, that avian flu is the result of massive factory farming practices, which they are attempting to change.
    While we have always applauded the ethics of the organic movement, a major player in local agriculture, we would like to point out the seriousness of this situation to the future of Germaine. We believe most of these farmers will eventually realize the necessity of reigning in their birds freedom in order to avoid catastrophe.
    We would like to encourage those who only own a show bird or two to take this crisis to heart also. The future of poultry and egg farming in Central Oregon may be jeopardized, as well as the Fall Fowl Fest, an important community tradition.

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