More than 77 million poultry have been killed in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America to contain the spread of bird flu, a pandemic few are even aware of thanks to light media coverage. There are few photos of dumpsters and dumps overflowing with dead birds and there is no mention of how the slaughter is often carried out. It is accomplished with “ventilation shutdown” (VSD) and “ventilation shutdown plus heat” (VSD+) in which steam heat and CO2 are added to oxygen deprivation/suffocation to ease heat stroke.
Now veterinarians and the public are calling on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to formally oppose VSD and VSD+ as a method of mass extermination of chickens, turkeys, ducks and other farm animals to control against bird flu. The shocking mass cull method was also used to kill an estimated 10 million American pigs in 2020 when hog operators couldn’t send them to slaughterhouses shut down by Covid, observes veterinarian Daniela Castillo.
As the AVMA prepares for its annual meeting in Philadelphia, an “Our Honor” campaign has been launched to highlight the use of large-scale bird culling by suffocation and heat stroke and how it contradicts the veterinary oath to prevent and relieve animal suffering.
Signed by veterinarians and members of the AVMA, the campaign states: “We fear that our reputation as caring animal advocates will be tarnished each time our profession is used to legitimize this brutal practice.” Killing healthy animals in this gruesome way is unnecessary, the campaign letter says, “yet society[s] could still cite the AVMA guidelines as protocol for such a barbaric act.
The suffering inflicted by VSD has been seen in videos of experiments conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and viewed by Intercept and Animal Outlook. “As the boxes get warmer and the air inside stagnates, and carbon dioxide is sometimes added, the chickens writhe, gasp, gasp, stagger and even throw themselves against the walls of their confinement in a desperate attempt to escape,” Animal wrote. Outlook. “Eventually the birds collapse and, ultimately, die of heat and suffocation.”
A VOD event at Rembrandt Farms in Rembrandt, Iowa, is particularly troubling, says Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which conducted the onsite investigation. “Owned by billionaire Glen Taylor, Rembrandt Farms was hit by bird flu 7 years ago and received $11.3 million in taxpayer subsidies to depopulate their flock of 5.5 million birds. Located on the Mississippi Flyway, with millions of migratory birds flying overhead, another outbreak of bird flu was expected, but the farm failed to modify its housing structure or set up a plan [for depopulation] in place” which was less cruel “before repopulating their establishment.
The Tasting Table website notes that Rembrandt Farms owned by Glen Taylor, the majority owner of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, has contracted bird flu three times and is responsible for five million of the ten million chicken deaths in Iowa. since the last avian flu epidemic.
Increasingly, veterinarians, animal advocates and concerned citizens say the AVMA’s refusal to formally condemn the shutdown of ventilation and the shutdown of ventilation plus heat is a clear example of the association putting business and economic interests above animals and a violation of the veterinarian’s own oath. United Poultry Concerns, a member of the Our Honor coalition, said the AVMA “should now intervene for the animals instead of repeatedly flattering their abusers”.
Some also suggest that the light media coverage of the avian flu pandemic and mass bird mortality is a nod to their “Big Food” advertisers; who wants to eat chicken during such a massive epidemic or see the dead bodies in the dumps and the wanton suffering? Scientists and public health officials are also blaming Big Food’s Million Birds, operations the size of industrial greed for spreading bird flu in the first place!
Add your name to the “Our Honor” campaign here.