Monday, November 20, 2006

 

Rotten eggs

We are hoping that maybe a Strickland-led Dept. of Agriculture can put an end to this egg farm farce once and for all.
Ohio’s largest egg producer lost a big battle in its fight to stay open when a state hearing officer said the agriculture department should revoke its permits.

The ruling against Ohio Fresh Eggs, which has farms in Licking, Wyandot and Hardin counties, could mean that the company would have to sell its chickens and close the farm.

It is the latest action in a long fight between the egg farm, its neighbors and state officials who had previously shut down Buckeye Egg Farm, the company’s previous owner.
Coincidentally, last week scientists again issued grave warnings about factory farm operations:
Six reports, written by three dozen scientists mostly from the American Midwest and Scandinavia, were published last week in the online version of the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Among their recommendations are limits on the density of animals and mandatory extensive environmental reviews for new feedlots. They also called for a ban on the use of antibiotics to promote animal growth, and that the drugs be available to factory farms only through prescriptions. The scientists also said they are worried about the danger of a flu pandemic spread by feedlots with both hogs and poultry, and urged new rules that set minimum distances separating them.
And, with the mounting concern about pandemic flu - linked to unsanitary poultry practices in several countries - it's past time for getting this situation under control.*

(* We fully understand that many models suggest a pandemic is more likely to spread via human movements around the world rather than via migratory birds, however there is some evidence from the 1918 pandemic that the deadly flu strains brewed in unsanitary agricultural settings for several years before the right combination of forces unleashed the "Spanish Flu" on the world. Also, we doubt whether the state of Ohio will ever have the ability to adequately regulate and inspect a facility of this size, and the price of failing to do so is enormously large on the rest of the environment, including helping spread Avian flu among other bird species.)

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