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An inmate in a Colorado prison just became the first person in the United States diagnosed with the human avian flu from the current strain.

Source: ABC News/Youtube

The inmate from Delta County had direct exposure to poultry infected with the avian flu and has now tested positive for the current strain. He was working on a commercial farm as a part of a correctional pre-release employment program. The man has mild symptoms of fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“This case does not change the human risk assessment for the general public, which CDC considers to be low. However, people who have job-related or recreational exposures to infected birds are at higher risk of infection should take appropriate precautions outlined in CDC guidance.”

The man is now being isolated and treated with an antiviral drug according to the Colorado health department. The flock of infected birds was euthanized and ‘disposed of’ according to the department. These poor birds were a part of over 24 million chickens, turkeys, and other birds that have been killed since February from the current H5N1 avian flu outbreak, which has been the biggest since 2014.

Since the devastating avian influenza outbreak in 2014 and 2015, experts are concerned about how fast this is killing birds. The outbreak was one of the most destructive in the nation’s history. The price of poultry and eggs skyrocketed, it cost the industry more than $3 billion, and nearly 50 million birds were killed. But just as the government always does, it protected this cruel industry and compensated farms for the lost flock.

Source: The New York Times/Youtube

The government could be spending that money to prevent future outbreaks by changing factory farming practices and making the bird population more diverse. The real issue is the way that commercial factory farms run. The industry relies on genetically identical animals confined in inhumanly small spaces.

It is now estimated that all nine billion chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. each year can trace their lineage back to a handful of breeds.

These chickens have been manipulated over generations to grow at incredibly unnatural speeds and become larger than they ever have. According to The Humane League, chickens today are more than four times the size they were just 60 years ago.

Although it is rare for the virus to spread to humans and between humans once infected, this is still a huge threat to public health. The lack of genetic diversity poses a massive threat to the industry and makes the animals more susceptible to outbreaks. It is a threat to public health.

Sign this petition to help stop abuse in the poultry industry.

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