The panic over the potential of a bird flu pandemic among humans has died down since England had its first poultry infections in early February. And in the lull, it’s become clearer exactly how activists have exploited bird flu fears to advance their agendas. They wait for a minor outbreak abroad; they flood the news media with an avalanche of scientifically ill-informed talking points; they argue that only the widespread adoption of a vegetarian (or at least all-organic) lifestyle can prevent disaster; and they disappear into the night as soon as talk of a chicken-induced apocalpyse fades. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This cycle relies primarily on people’s confusion and ignorance about bird flu, basic virology, and what sort of safeguards already exist to prevent widespread human infection. In hope of pre-empting the next activist onslaught, we’ve gathered the basics of bird flu all in one place.
The facts speak for themselves:
You can’t get bird flu from eating cooked chicken.
Bird flu has been around for over fifty years, and has yet to mutate into a form that can easily be transmitted from human to human.
Almost all known human cases of bird flu have occurred among rural populations that are in daily, direct contact with infected birds.
There’s no evidence to suggest that so-called "free range" birds are any safer from infection than ones raised in cage.
Over 97 percent of all U.S. poultry producers test their flocks for bird flu before they’re even brought into the processing plant, and they’ve never found an infection of highly pathogenic bird flu.
A large study in Vietnam suggests that bird flu’s mortality rate among humans it about the same as the common flu.
These facts are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want more, spend a few minutes browsing the list.