[See also: Canada: The Disease Dimension, By Michael Monastyrskyj]
Here in California, there has been much media attention to the outbreak of Exotic Newcastle Disease (END). Initially detected in private "backyard flocks" in Los Angeles County, the virus has spread quickly throughout the Southern California poultry industry. Over 1.3 million of the state's 12 million chickens have already been destroyed. The outbreak threatens the entire $3 billion California poultry business.
But the media has not reported the cause of outbreak. I searched a hundred or so "news" links. The unenlightening "backyard flock" was the only "explanation" offered. Apparently, no-one had any interest in discovering why this important event occurred.
After much digging in farm trade publications, I discovered the cause: the illegal smuggling of illegal game cocks from Mexico. Cock fighting is illegal in California and all but three other states and poultry smuggling is illegal due to federal health and disease control regulations. In fact, according to the USDA, the principal means of prevention of END is by strict border control and inspection of imported birds.
The same loose border control that allows hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to sneak into our country also enables the very same aliens to bring in their "backyard flocks" of fighting birds.
The virus has been assayed and judged to be of the type that caused an END outbreak in Mexico in 2000 during which 13 million birds died or were killed. Obviously, it was not completely eradicated in Mexico three years ago.
But, you may well ask, what does a handful of gamecocks have to do with the California poultry industry? How could a couple of roosters infect those flocks to the tune of 1.3 million dead birds?
Well, the USDA thinks they do. It has destroyed 43,000 birds in "backyard flocks" in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.
The reason: many of the owners of these critters work in the nearby poultry farms. Although the poultry farms have strict biosafety rules to protect their flocks, a principal one - "you can't be around other chicken flocks" - was ignored by the workers. It turns out that END, although harmless to humans, can be carried on clothes and shoes. It is easily spread by a human who has had contact with infected birds.
And, to bang yet another chip out of the "Irony is Dead" conceit, what about this: the poultry industry hires illegal Mexicans and pushes for open borders. It gets its cheap workers - who then turn around and destroy the business, because of an expression of their "culture", that while illegal, is winked as part of the vast multicultural benefits immigration brings us!
END is dangerous. In 1971, the whole California poultry crop had to be destroyed due to infection with END.
Yet here we are, 32 years later, with huge foreign national populations throughout the nation enjoying their protected (illegal) cultural expression of watching roosters slice each other to ribbons with razor blades and knives attached to their feet.
What is going to keep END from spreading? Aliens with infected chickens can cross the entire Southern border, bringing the disease to the huge poultry farms in Arkansas and elsewhere in the South.
And there is a large trade in these birds in the LA area at swap meets and shows. Gamecocks are expensive. Their fighting prowess can return a good living for the owners, who may have hundreds of them. To protect their investments, why wouldn't the owners want to sell them as fast as possible - before they die or are confiscated?
Altogether now: diversity is our strength!
Walter Pringle (email him) lives in California. He does not keep chickens.
[VDARE.COM NOTE: In another ironic news item, it turns out that as a result of the END outbreak in Alta California, Mexico has banned all imports of American (not just Californian) poultry. Canada's border control has always been better than ours.]
January 27, 2003