Bird flu outbreak spreads to Belgium.

Bird flu outbreak spreads to Belgium

2017-02-04 06:05

Brussels – A highly contagious strain of bird flu that has affected poultry farmers in France and Germany has now spread to Belgium, officials said on Thursday.

The H5N8 avian virus was identified late Wednesday among birds at a home in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders between the cities of Brussels and Ghent.

“The virus that has hit our neighbours in the past months has now reached Belgium,” said Belgian Agriculture Minister Willy Borsus.

“Professional farmers have not been affected, but we must be vigilant,” he added.

Belgium in November preventively implemented confinement measures in order to stop an epidemic during the bird migratory season.

Authorities on Thursday expanded them to include private owners of poultry and other birds.

The H5N8 strain can spread quickly in affected farms, often leading to the culling of thousands of birds.

Since October, the strain has been detected in 15 other European countries including Britain, France and Germany.

Hungary has had the highest number of outbreaks in the past three months, with 201 cases reported in farms and four in wild birds.

Read more on:    belgium  |  h5n8  |  bird flu


Some 190,000 ducks were destroyed on Saturday at six farms in the Netherlands following an avian flu outbreak, the country’s first cull in response to an epidemic sweeping northern Europe.

Outbreaks of avian flu, primarily the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain, have been reported in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden over the past week.



Will the worst bird flu outbreak in US history finally make us reconsider factory farming chicken?

The outbreak has required that farmers resort to fire-extinguisher foam to kill off infected flocks. Can commercial farms protect themselves, or is US chicken farming fundamentally unsustainable?

Iowa, the hardest hit, has euthanized more than 31 million birds, including approximately 40% of the state’s 60 million laying hens, according to Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association. Turkey farmers in the state, while affected to a lesser degree, also have suffered. Minnesota, the leading turkey producer, has lost nearly 9 million turkeys.



The massive challenge of disposing of these sick birds illustrates the scale of chicken farming in the US. When avian flu infects a single bird on a chicken farm, the whole population has to be destroyed in order to stop the spread. In Iowa, for example, where an egg farm holds anywhere from 70,000 to 5 million birds, infection means slaughtering an unimaginable number of animals.

…. Meanwhile for turkeys and broiler chickens, which are floor-reared (ie not kept in cages), the use of water-based foam similar to that used by firefighters is the most effective way to euthanize a large flock in a short period of time, says Beth Carlson, North Dakota’s deputy state veterinarian.

Approved for use by the USDA in 2006, the water-based foam suffocates the birds, which are typically herded into an enclosed area of the barn so that the foam can be deployed more quickly.

…. Not all agree that using foam is humane. “We could do better,” says Michael Blackwell, chief veterinary officer at The Humane Society of the United States, who likens death by foam to “cuffing a person’s mouth and nose, during which time you are very much aware that your breathing has been precluded”.



…. Based on the size of the flock and local conditions, the dead birds are composted on-site (either indoors or outdoors), composted off-site, buried, moved to landfills or incinerated. Composting – in which dead birds are laid in rows, mixed with a bulking agent such as wood chips or saw dust and then left for approximately 30 days – is the preferred method of disposal, Benson says, because the virus is killed by the heat produced as the birds decompose. The problem with landfills, according to Benson, is that the virus might contaminate the soil or groundwater.


….  Commercial poultry farms, on the other hand, “are designed like a disease incubator”, thanks to dark, moist and crowded conditions.


….  When a bird is bred so that all its energy goes to the production of meat or eggs, “something has to give”, says the ASPCA’s McMillan. “The science indicates that a bird’s immunity goes down.”


….  It’s the system that is at fault, according to McMillan. “We are forcing birds to live in unbalanced ways, both physically and genetically,” she says. Commercial poultry flocks “are bred to suffer. We force them to live a life of misery, and from that perspective, they are going to be more prone to contracting and spreading disease. These are not healthy, balanced animals.”





Final Push For The Bees – Please Support If Possible.


Hi Mark,

Wow — we’ve never seen anything like this before.

Because of you, we’re almost able to fully cover the Bee Defenders’ final stages of their massive legal battle.

We’re just £4,551 short.

With your support right now, we can fully cover all legal costs — AND show our support at the courthouse alongside the Bee Defenders. 

Will you be their hero and chip in the last little bit they need to save the bees?

Donate now

Any extra that’s donated will be directed straight into other actions to save the bees in 2017.

Thanks for all you do,


Original email: 


A small, brave coalition of beekeeping organisations is taking on pesticide giants like Bayer, Syngenta, and BASF in court to save the bees.

They’re rapidly running out of money at this crucial time and they need your help to win this case.

The Bee Defenders Alliance is fighting to uphold the European Commission’s historic, partial ban on three nasty pesticides that are decimating bee colonies.

The lawsuit’s about to enter its final phase with hearings to start any day now — and lawyers are telling us that right now that it could go either way.

If we lose this, it would mean a world where Bayer and its friends get free rein to sell bee-killing pesticides. That would be game over for the bees.

A donation from you would go a long way towards protecting the bees — paying for top notch lawyers and other resources that the Alliance needs to win.

Will you please chip in to save the bees?

Donate £20 now

Donate £30 now

Donate £41 now

Chip in another amount

We need to protect the bees: over a billion jobs depend on them, and bees are responsible for a third of the food that we eat.

But the threat of extinction of the bees is looming large thanks to these pesticides called neonics. Just last week, a new report revealed that the harm of neonics is greater than what we thought when the partial ban was first introduced.

The Alliance is key to a defeat of the pesticide lobby — they are the voice of beekeepers and independent scientists.

And they’re up against corporations like Bayer, Syngenta, and BASF — powerful and wealthy corporations that can strong arm the European Commission to get what they want.

You can help defeat the pesticide giants by chipping in to support the Alliance’s people-powered fight.

We may never have as much money as the big corporations, but SumOfUs members like you have shown that when we stand together we punch above our weight.

Hundreds of thousands of you pushed France to become the first country to ban the chemicals responsible for the global bee die-off.

Together, we’ve sent beekeepers to confront Bayer’s corporate executives at its annual shareholder meeting. And we’ve forced big hardware chains across the world to stop selling neonics.

This year, we’re working around the clock to get Canada to join France in banning neonics, extend the European neonic ban, and stop U.S. grocery store giants like Kroger from selling bee-killing products. We’ll also continue to support threatened bee scientists like Jonathan Lundgren and the beekeeper alliance that’s fighting Bayer and Syngenta in court.

And finally, we’ll do everything we can to stop the Bayer-Monsanto merger from hell and continue to fight the biggest bee-killer of them all, Bayer.

Can you please help stop the pesticide lobby from tearing up this historic win for the bees?

Donate £20 now

Donate £30 now

Donate £41 now

Chip in another amount

Thanks for all that you do, 

Wiebke, Kat and the team at SumOfUs



USA:   Stop Company From Sawing Through Live Lambs’ Throats – Petition.



Stop Company From Sawing Through Live Lambs’ Throats


Target: Dr. Yudhbir Sharma, District Manager of Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in California.



Goal: Launch full investigation into allegations of animal cruelty and violations of food labeling standards against lamb meat producer.

Animal rights group Compassion Over Killing has released horrific undercover footage showing what appears to be cruel treatment of animals at a meat plant owned by Superior Farms, the United States’ leading producer of lamb meat.

Footage shows lambs having their throats brutally sawed at with a knife in repeated strokes, in apparent violation of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Many of these innocent animals were seen still moving and trying to breathe, even after their throats had been cut. Almost as worrisome was the revelation of potential health code violations.

According to investigators, workers were documented removing “best by” and “packed on” date labels from finished products and replacing them with labels with later dates more than a dozen times, essentially lying to consumers about the freshness of their products. The slaughterhouse has denied these claims and asserts the labels were simply wrong.

The FSIS department of the USDA must do its job to ensure that Superior Farms is abiding by animal welfare and labeling standards. Demand that they launch a full investigation of Superior Farms and penalize them as necessary if found guilty of these alleged violations.


Lets see what Emperor Trump does about this – the USDA has closed down a lot of its website (see earlier post) so that animal abusers cannot be tracked




Dear Dr. Sharma,

A video from an undercover investigation shows workers at a California meat plant owned by Superior Farms brutally slaughtering lambs in methods that apparently violate the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. The video also shows workers changing dates of “best by” labels on finished products, apparently deceiving their consumers about the freshness and quality of their meat.

I ask that the FSIS launch a full investigation of Superior Farms and punish them harshly if these allegations are found to be true.


[Your Name Here]



Take action and support the petition:




USA: Emperor Trump Removes Animal Welfare Reports From USDA Website — Now Welfare Cannot Be Checked.




USDA removes animal welfare reports from its website – StarTribune ……from…/412715773…

9 hours ago – The Agriculture Department has removed animal welfare inspection reports, enforcement records and other information about the treatment of animals from its website, … In place of the online database is a new message from the … actions to remove documents” related to the Animal Welfare Act and the …

Missing: adm

USDA blacks out animal welfare information | Science | AAAS…/trump-administration-blacks-out-animal-welfare…

7 hours ago – Records have in the past led to the shutdown of subpar research facilities. … The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today removed public access to tens of … animals are being treated humanely under the Animal Welfare Act. Henceforth, those wanting access … Mexican scientists feel the Trump effect.

Missing: admrecords

The Trump Effect: USDA Scrubs Animal Welfare Reports from Its …

3 hours ago – This includes animal welfare inspections and records about the … However, the reports already remove the locations of facilities and other sensitive information … And while the animal welfare act specifically excludes farmed …

Missing: adm

Importance: High





That orange, cheeto-dusted nightmare in the White House is not only going to get us into a war, but he is going to be bad for animals as well. Friday, February 3rd, 2017




Today, without warning, the Trump administration ordered that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service immediately take offline thousands and thousands of records related to Animal Welfare Act-related entities, including research facilities that experiment on dogs and cats.

This database contained inspection reports that allowed the public to see a host of law enforcement records related to the Animal Welfare Act. These records included inspection reports from facilities who were violating the law, annual reports that allowed the public to know what laboratories are experimenting on animals, how many animals are used for research, and other related information. Now the public will have not even any basic statistical information going forward regarding animal use in the United States. The rule also affects other regulated entities, including puppy mills, circuses, and zoos. This new rule from the Trump administration allows those who break the law to evade public scrutiny.

This move makes it IMPOSSIBLE to find out where animals are located, their treatment and any violations, essentially giving carte blanche to anyone to hide animal violations, and violate animal welfare laws, among other things.

Because this information will now be hidden, it also makes it impossible for us to take action against facilities abusing animals, or even reach out to facilities using animals to offer assistance in placing beagles in loving homes.

BFP is looking at legal options to force the Trump administration to reverse course on this decision that destroys transparency.

Please help by contacting your members of Congress here and urging them to change this rule. We need more transparency surrounding animal research, not less.


This move will not go un-noticed.

Animals in laboratories will NOT BE HIDDEN.

Just as has been our mission for the Past 6 years,

Animals in labs will be SEEN,

Animals in labs will be HEARD, and

Animals in labs will be FREED!