An Important Message from the Avian Welfare Coalition
The recent flood of media coverage on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) of the H5N1strain has generated a great deal of media attention and public concern. Thus far, human cases of HPAI H5N1 have been limited to people in Asia and Eastern Europe who have had direct contact with infected domesticated fowl. Nevertheless, HPAI H5N1 persists in some migratory flocks of wild birds (mostly waterfowl) and some flocks of domesticated fowl and continues to spread with the movement of infected birds. Intensive poultry production methods, including severe over-crowding and confinement, poor hygiene and excessivestress increase a flock's susceptibility to the virus and the likelihood of its transmission to agricultural workers and the public. The mutability of influenza viruses means that the H5N1 strain of HPAI could pose potentially serious health risks to birds, humans, and other mammals as the virus changes.
The AWC encourages federal and state government and public health agencies to address the potential risk of HPAItransmission through the following routes: the legal and illegal trade in wild birds, the unregulated trade at live bird markets and fairs, the legal and illegal transport of domesticated fowl, and the shipment of birds on commercial airlines and via the United States Postal Service.
In addition, AWC calls upon these agencies to ensure that management and control of the disease be accomplished through preventative measures such as the strict regulation of the trade and transport of all avian species, including a ban on all bird imports, bio-security requirements for avian transport, handling, and holding facilities, mandatory disease testing of birds in transport or commerce, a moratorium on bird hunting, and the strict enforcement of existing laws that prohibit activities such as smuggling, poaching, and cock-fighting.
Most importantly, the AWC urges public health and government agencies to develop humane methods of disease eradication in flocks potentially exposed to HPAI so as to avoid or minimize the pain, distress, and suffering in birds and humans In this regard, AWC supports the Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) Policy on Humane Slaughter for disease control. Additionally, AWC supports directives that will prohibit the culling of wild bird populations, since the World Health Organizations (WHO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have advised against the control of avian influenza infection in wild bird populations through these means.
AWC is closely monitoring the latest information on AI, including the progression of H5N1 outbreaks, public health information, and relevant research and publications. AWC also urges bird caretakers to be proactive and follow recommended bio-security guidelines as established by the USDA, CDC, and other health organizations so as to minimize the risk to human and avian health.
Below are some excellent resources to help you stay well informed and to help protect you and the birds in your care. We will continue to update these resources and other significant news.
Avian Influenza: Helpful Resources and News!
GET THE FACTS: Important Resources
Get the Facts on Avian Flu! Below are some excellent resources to help you stay well informed of the latest news, developments, and research!
Important Resources & Organizations
The entire contents of "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching," with all 3,000+ citations hyperlinked, is now available for free online at http://www.BirdFluBook.org.
Bird flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching
By Dr. Michael Greger
Full Online Version, with all 3,000 citations hyperlinked now available at www.birdflubook.org
Avian Influenza: Keeping Your Family-and Your Pets-Safe and Healthy
by Carrie Allen, Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), April 6, 2006
HSUS Letter to Homeland Security on Avian Influenza Threat
Bird flu, New Scientist
USDA - Draft Summary of the National Avian Influenza (AI) Response Plan, August 31, 2006
USDA Newsroom – Avian Influenza
USDA Import Procedures for a Pet Bird Entering (U.S. Origin) the United States.
USDA/Animal Welfare Information Center: Information Resources on Avian Influenza
Frequently Asked Questions About Avian Flu
World Health Organization
Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy
Academic Health Center-University of Minnesota
Ten Things You Need To Know About Pandemic Influenza
by the World Health Organization (WHO)
National Audobon Society Avian Influenza Information
The official U.S. government Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza.
News and Views on Avian Flu!
CNN News: Avian Flu
USDA-APHIS Newsroom - Avian Influenza
Factory Farms Fueling Avian Flu, Say Researchers
By Haider Rizvi, OneWorld US, February 22, 2007
EU Permanently Banks Wild Bird Imports
by the Species Survival Network, January 12, 2007
Avian Influenza: Flu Factories
By Dr. Michael Greger
Avian Influenza: Unjustly Blaming Outdoor Flocks
By Dr. Michael Greger
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Flu?
According to Dr. Michael Greger, We All Should Be.
By Carrie Allan, Animal Sheltering Magazine, May/June 2006
For Immediate Release: Indiscriminate Slaughter of Rare Parrots and Cockatoos:
The “Collateral Damage’ of the War on “Bird Flu” by Dr. Stewart Metz and Bonnie Zimmerman, Project Bird Watch/The Indonesian Parrot Project, April 2, 2006 (click here)
Don’t blame the wild birds
By William B. Karesh and Robert A. Cook, International Herald Tribune, March 19, 2005
Bird flu’s human-attack pathway revealed
By Debora MacKenzie, NewScientist News Service, March 22, 2006
VIEWPOINT by Leon Bennun, Director of Science, Policy & Information for
BirdLife International BBC News, February 17, 2006