Avian Flu – Prevention or Pandemic?

by

The globalised, industrial production of poultry is a source of immense problems, not least of which is disease. You will have heard of the threat from Avian Flu – but what can we do about it? Sheepdrove Organic Farm joins the ranks of scientistists, farmers and campaigners who believe a serious change in the poultry industry is needed to prevent the potential pandemic presented by Avian Influeza.

Come and hear prominent experts in the field, who will explain why – if we do not have a strategy for prevention – the pandemic seems to be waiting!

Event details:

Avian Flu – Prevention or Pandemic?
26th November 2007

1.30 pm – 5 pm
The George Thomas Room
Central Hall Westminster

with

 Dr. Jan Slingenbergh
Senior Officer of the FAO Animal Health Service

 and

Dr. Michael Greger
Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture, the Humane Society of the United States

Opening remarks by:
Professor Richard Parish,
Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Health

Chair:  Dr. Caroline Lucas MEP

To register, e-mail: birdflumeeting@hsi.org 
giving your name and the name of the organisation you represent.
Tel: 07812 354144

Background
In June 2007, representatives of the Sheepdrove Organic Farm, Soil Association, Elm Farm Research Centre, Compassion in World Farming, and Sustain, along with writer Colin Hines, and MEP Dr. Caroline Lucas, met to listen to a presentation by Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

While governments and the poultry industry have typically blamed migratory birds as the source of the current H5N1 strain of avian influenza, Dr. Greger asserts that human choices and actions, such as certain intensive farming practices, in reality pose a far greater risk by creating the conditions in which H5N1 is able to thrive and which, in addition, may allow the virus to become more easily transmissible to and between human beings.

Those present recognised the importance of Dr. Greger’s research, and the urgent need for such a thorough and timely analysis of the circumstances which may increase the risk of a flu pandemic. Furthermore, those present agreed that a strategy for reducing that risk should be developed as soon as possible.

Following the initial meeting, and having been joined by Professor Richard Parish, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Health, the groups decided that Dr. Greger’s work should be more widely publicised, and have now joined forces to organise a second meeting, to which a broader audience of policy makers, health professionals, politicians and NGOs have been invited.

At this second meeting, the organising groups will be delighted to welcome Dr. Jan Slingenbergh, Senior Officer of the FAO’s Animal Health Service, who will present FAO policy in this area, drawing on the recent and highly influential report ‘Industrial Livestock production and Global Health Risks’ (FAO June 2007) as well as his own research into the genesis of disease emergence and pathogen shifts.

Dr. Greger’s book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, is available online at www.birdflubook.com

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