Chicken killings: a moral catastrophe we can’t afford to neglect

To the Editor:

Although this horrible news was not widely reported, readers need to know about an outbreak of bird flu two weeks ago at one of the largest poultry factory farms in Ohio, located in the Toledo area. A brief article on page 3 of the Sept. 8 edition stated that this outbreak would result in euthanizing “roughly 3 million chickens.”

Euthanizing, depopulation, culled and harvested are industry buzz words for killing the flock — which would probably just mean turning off the massive fans that blow the toxic gasses out of the industrial barns instead of releasing them into the community or closing off the barn vents to raise the temperatures, so the birds die by heat stroke.

Bird flu or avian influenza is a highly pathogenic disease with many cases already reported in Ohio, Indiana and several other Midwest states. This has resulted in the deaths of over 40 million chickens and turkeys so far this year – plus this disease can be transmittable to humans.

Hillandale Farms in Defiance County has an Ohio Department of Agriculture permit to house 4.1 million egg-laying chickens. Even though these chickens were confined in industrial buildings, apparently, they were exposed to a wild bird or feral animal – resulting in the suffering and deaths of 3 million of God’s creatures.

Between the suffering of these animals and the devastating impacts of animal manure on Lake Erie and our environment, this is a moral catastrophe we can’t afford to neglect any longer.

Despite public outrage at the humanitarian and environmental consequences of factory farming, over 95% of the meat, pork, eggs and milk in the U.S. comes from animal factories.

Consider spending a little more by buying pasture-raised egg products, poultry, pork and meat from local farmers or at farmers markets. Also consider “Meatless Mondays” by eating more healthy vegetables and fruit — a win-win for the environment and for your health.

Vickie Askins

Cygnet