A report from The New York Times discusses the impact of the avian flu viruses that have affected more than 33 million turkeys, chickens, and ducks in more than a dozen states since December.
While farmers in Asia and elsewhere have had to grapple with avian flu epidemics, no farmers in the United States have ever confronted a health crisis among livestock like this one, which seemed to travel along migratory bird pathways from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwestern states. Almost every day brings confirmation by the Agriculture Department that at least another hundred thousand or so birds must be destroyed; some days, the number exceeds several million.
On Thursday, South Dakota reported its first possible infection on a chicken farm with 1.3 million birds in the eastern part of the state.
Mounds and mounds of carcasses have piled up in vast barns here in the northwestern corner of Iowa, where farmers and officials have been appealing for help to deal with disposal of such a vast number of flocks. Workers wearing masks and protective gear have scrambled to clear the barns, but it is a painstaking process.