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From Bird Flu to Big Farms: The Rise of China’s Agriculture
You can’t have avian flu — or at least, not this avian flu — without birds; most of the people who have been diagnosed with H7N9 had contact with live chickens or visited a market that sold live poultry for slaughter. H7N9 is continuing to spread in China; and so it’s a lucky coincidence that a nonprofit with deep knowledge of Chinese agriculture has just published a series of reports exploring the vast expansion of Chinese production of meat animals, including chickens.
The nonprofit is the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, based in Minneapolis. On Wednesday, it released four linked reports on the transformation of livestock-raising in China:
The Need for Feed: China’s Demand for Industrialized Meat and Its Impacts
China’s Pork Miracle? Agribusiness and Development in China’s Pork Industry
China’s Dairy Dilemma: The Evolution and Future Trends of China’s Dairy Industry
Fair or Fowl? Industrialization of Poultry Production in China
Here’s an excerpt from the press release that accompanied the reports’ publication:
China is the world’s largest producer of pork, the second largest producer of poultry, the largest feed importer and the fourth largest dairy producer. IATP’s reports analyze the global implications for policy decisions at this scale as well as domestic impacts on China’s food supply and economy as small producers can no longer compete with corporate livestock operations.
China used about 105 million kgs. of antibiotics in industrial livestock production; in comparison, the US used 13.2 million kgs.
But what's the connection between antibiotic use and H7N9? Or did you post the wrong article?
Red Flags In China’s Disease Control
….during an outbreak the government reactive mobilization efforts often run counter to a risk management strategy essential for effective disaster response. A primary objective of risk management is to maximize protection and minimize disruption to the society and the economy. But even today the government is still heavily reliant on state-centric, vertically imposed prohibition and coercion — such as mass culling and other draconian containment measures — to address disease outbreaks without differentiating the risk posed by different viruses.
Indeed, the SARS crisis reinforced the notion that aggressive containment measures are the silver bullet to all infectious disease outbreaks. As shown in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, such measures potentially can do more harm than good. In coping with the H7N9 outbreak, drastic public health interventions have already resulted in consumer panic and increased the financial burden of poultry farmers, costing the poultry industry over US$16.4 billion in 2013 alone.