Chicken Drought’s A-Comin'
As many of you in the Midwest have probably heard, avian flu has hit the poultry industry hard, largely due to the conditions of ‘chicken operations’ – as in factory farms that raise chickens for their eggs and meat.
The numbers are staggering. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 223 outbreaks in 15 states have been identified over the past six months, affecting more than 48 million birds, with more cases expected. The hardest-hit states, all of which have declared states of emergency, are Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin. About 11 percent of the nation’s egg-laying hens have been slaughtered out of fear that they might be infected.
This poses a number of problems for the U.S., given the current restrictions subsequently placed on U.S. poultry imports and an overall egg shortage, which has caused prices to rise significantly. According to Michele Simon:
Those concerned about climate change, public health and the vitality of our economy have long pushed for a transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy sources. We must take a similar approach to convert our food system from a dirty, outdated industry to one based on clean, sustainable production methods — starting with a reconsideration of chicken and eggs.
Enter alternatives: from the Clara Foods egg alternative we mentioned earlier this week and the overall surge in large-scale investment in alternatives to animal-based foods, to the existing replacements like Tofurky and chick’n that continue to improve in quality and lower in price (remember: more meat = more water & greenhouse gas emissions, see the infographic below), it’s probably just a matter of time before the industry’s archaic practices have to significantly evolve or die and given the current conditions, it’s hard not to hope for the latter.
Original article & image source: http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/7/the-end-of-chicken.html