Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Daily Rant

As we have all seen and heard, the current strain of the Avian/Bird Flu has the potential to be a worldwide epidemic rivaling the plagues that ravaged Europe hundreds of years ago. But at least we felt safe in the knowledge that at least in the U.S. when we want chicken we either have to go out to a restaurant or purchase Frank Perdue’s in the grocery store. Most of us have seen the startling pictures, often from China, that show open-air bird markets and of people in western China who literally sleep with their livestock and chickens. The true hot zone of the Avian Flu has the potential to develop in these open-air markets where individuals buy live chickens to take home and eat because they simply are not closely enough watched or regulated to guarantee that the disease does not develop and spread. Often, the only way to know there has been an infection is after it occurs and after it has infected chickens, or God forbid people. In fact, hundreds of thousands of birds and chickens have literally been destroyed around the world to prevent the spread of Avian Flu. Ignorant as I was, I slept soundly at night believing that this virus might be contained in other countries before it could kill any Americans, similar to what occurred after the outbreak of the SARS Virus in places like China and Canada.
But, just tonight I watched in astonishment as CNN showed that right here in America the same open-air bird and chicken markets that exist in other countries exist right here too. In fact, CNN reported that there are at least 90 such markets in New York City alone and that they exist in many of the U.S.’s biggest cities where large ethnic minorities have settled and continued their “Old World” traditions of purchasing live birds to be brought home for dinner. I am not so naïve as to believe that chicken slaughter houses don’t exist in this country and have the potential to be catalysts for Bird Flu. But, these slaughter houses are owned by large corporations like Tyson Chicken and they have to have safe guards in place to prevent the Bird Flu from attacking their stock otherwise they would be forced to destroy thousands of birds and with it thousands of dollars in profit. But, I don’t feel the same sense of security with these bird markets that exist, unknowing to people like me, in all of our major cities in the U.S. Imagine what would occur if the Bird Flu developed out of one of these markets in NYC with such a compacted group of individuals mostly using public transportation. If the virus is as deadly as feared, entire cites could be wiped out in a matter of days as they simply don’t have the medical infrastructure to deal with such a large-scale epidemic. People would flee as fast as they could from the city, possibly infected themselves, and thus infect the rest of the country. Our world as we know it could be wiped out in the blink of an eye.
I don’t know what can be done to stop and close down these markets, but someone out there must. Can we take the chance just so that a group of people can continue their traditional diet of eating fresh chickens? Are you willing to take the chance?
-Publius

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