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Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.
Sunday, September 21, 2003
about an Italian man who was
arrested for taking his pet chicken
for a walk in a Dutch town.
When residents called police to
tell them about this, the cops
thought it was a joke, but they
got there and this guy was walking
his pet chicken.
They arrested him, confiscated
and killed his chicken, even though
he protested, did not believe the
cops, and even complained to the
Italian embassy in Amsterdam.
Why would this happen?!! Turns
out, there have been outbreaks
of a poultry virus all over Holland
and Blegium. To make it worse,
the strain jumped to humans,
infecting more than 80 people and
killing one vet.
I decided to try to find out more
about this, given yesterday's post
that had me wondering how long
it might be before this might happen.
Especially since I, and so many
others at Tyson, were repeatedly
getting sick when sick chickens
I found an article dated 4-22-03
The avian flu spilled over into Belgium
from the Netherlands, where it has
devastated the poultry industry. Since
the disease's discovery in February,
Dutch farmers have culled 15 million
birds out of a total population of 100
million. The export ban alone is costing
the Dutch poultry industry an estimated
€2 million ($2.2 million) a day."
This is when the vet died from pneumonia
two days after working on a farm where
bird flu infections had been discovered.
At first they tried to say that this guy's
immune system was already weakened
by another virus, however large amounts of
the bird flu had been found in the man's
lungs, but no other viruses that could have
caused his death. They also found it in
pigs on five farms.
What was really interesting to me about
this was that at that time the spread of this
had made people fear that this epidemic
could spread like SARS.
But officials from the World Health
Organization said the bird flu had little in
common with SARS and there was no
evidence that it could transfer to humans.
Six people died in Hong Kong in 1997
from an outbreak of a bird virus.
In Holland, health officials also sought to
assuage public fears the bird flu had
mutated into something that could easily
spread among humans. "We now know
there's no mutation of the virus, we know
for sure that the vet died of the original
bird flu. It's very good to know that," Dutch
Health Ministry spokesman Bas Kuik told
the news agency Reuters.
Why would this be comforting? It
seems to me that this fact would
make it more scary. It doesn't have
to mutate to kill you?! But, of course,
it was the vet's fault he died.
Both the Dutch and Belgian
governments have stepped up
human flu and bird flu vaccination
efforts for workers who come into
regular contact with fowl that could
be affected by the illness. In addition
to the vet, some workers culling the
birds have reported eye-infections
and flu symptoms.
Wow, we suffered the same at
Tyson. They were telling us that
we couldn't catch anything the
chickens had, too. Surely they
would not have lied to us......
Kuik even suggested on Tuesday
the vet's death might have been
prevented if he had obtained a
vaccination. "If he had taken his anti-
virals he probably wouldn't have died.
It's pretty bad when you have to
vaccinate yourself against your food!