Bird Flu Re-Ups
The death of a man who evidently caught bird flu by jogging in a wetland (!) prompts me to remind us all that, unless we radically change our orientation to animals, it’s merely a matter of when (not if) the next influenza pandemic will strike.
Say what? Yes: The 1918 influenza epidemic that killed more people than World War I was a bird flu—and a less virulent virus than the bird (and hybrid pig-bird) viruses that now mutate more rapidly and race around the world more easily thanks to the one-two punch of factory farming and trade globalization.
And yes: It’s our predilection for eating animal flesh that has gotten us into this mess.
So, let me share with new Superweed readers four past posts related to bird and pig flu as well as the sometimes surprising links between these menaces and other issues, such as animal abuse, poverty, racism and even homophobia.
The latest case brings up a connection I didn’t stress enough in those previous pieces: the erosion of and human encroachment into animal habitats. As people sprawl into the increasingly small areas into which free-living (aka “wild) animals have been squeezed, the likelihood of viral swapping increases. Ditto when displaced or disoriented animals roam into cities or other human settlements.
Possibly related posts: