U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and game farms like Spring Farm are quick to blame wild birds when avian flu outbreaks threaten the public and hurt their bottom line [“Thousands Of Fowl Euthanized By USDA At Sag Harbor Game Farm Over Bird Flu Outbreak Concerns,” 27east.com, March 30].
However, it bears reminding that it was in commercial farms where a harmless waterborne virus mutated to gain airborne transmission and extreme virulence. By breeding and raising animals, often confining them in filthy, windowless sheds by the thousands, we are creating hot spots for zoonotic diseases. And when animals are captive-bred and released to the wild, like at Spring Farm, not only are any rules of “fair chase” thrown to the wind, but diseases are as well.
While many of the birds at Spring Farm will be easily captured and killed, since they were bred in captivity and do not have the same guile as animals reared naturally by their parents in the wild, some no doubt will escape and continue the spread of this deadly disease, just like those that escape its grounds regularly with their bodies laden with bullets before being rehabilitated by our friends at Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center.
My organization, Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), is urging the public to help animals and stop the next pandemic by leaving animals off their plates and condemning hunting ranches like Spring Farm that threaten the health and safety of humans and birds alike.
John Di Leonardo
One fine body…