Rise of Poultry Population May Cause Human Epidemics

The rapid rise of global poultry population may lead to infectious diseases to humans.

Professor Stephen Hinchliffe of the University of Exeter said in a book he co-authored called Pathological Lives that the rising global poultry numbers, along with selective breeding and production techniques have made the planet more “infectable.”

“In this book we investigate how human and animal lives have become dangerous to themselves in a world of accelerated production and biological intensity,” said Hinchliffe.

He used avian influenza as an example.

“Avian flu has been around for a long time, circulating in wild birds without too much of an issue,” said Hinchliffe. “But as inexpensively produced protein-rich diets become a worldwide norm, poultry populations, growth rates and metabolisms have changed accordingly… humans have created a new set of conditions for viral selection and evolution.”

Various strains of avian influenza have claimed the lives of millions of birds the past few months. While current forms of the disease can’t be transmitted from human to human, some of them can infect people, too.

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