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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