The New Farm Newsletter, which you can sign up for free at http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/newfarm/forms/newsletter.html, has an excellent column in the Ocober 18 edition on Avian Influenza by Paul Beingessner, http://www.newfarm.org/columns/saskatchewan/2007/101807.shtml. Paul is a columnist, transportation consultant and third-generation farmer in Truax, Saskatchewan, (306) 868-4734, 868-2009(fax), email@example.com.
He takes note of a recent United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/projects/en/pplpi/docarc/pb_hpaiindustrialrisks.html, taking a closer look at the role played by concentrated confined commercial poultry operations. The evidence is mounting that Highly Pathogenic viruses do not occur in nature, but are the product of confinement operations. Small flocks are not the vectors they were portrayed as being, and the onus is being removed from them. That's expecially good for people in less developed countries, who depend on their poultry for a significant part of their nutrition.
The predicted spread of Highly Pathogenic virus by migratory birds has not developed. That threat was the justification for requiring poultry in suspected outbreak locations to be confined, the theory being that an infected bird could fly overhead or mingle in the water supplies of domestic birds. Since no, read none, of the more than 134,000 specimens tested over the past two years has shown Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, that route can be put to rest.
It hasn't left public consciousness, and the public and most news reports continue to point the finger at any chicken or duck they can find. But opinion leaders like Mr. Beingessner are doing the world a service in placing responsibility for this threat at the commercial poultry houses where it belongs.