Hard-boiled animal activists could threaten vaccine supply
By: David Martosko
Newspaper: Cleveland Plain Dealer
In the post-9/11 world, the phrase "national security" conjures up images of dirty bombs, jihadists, white powder and biohazard labels. It should also bring to mind another picture: an egg.
As we enter flu season, scientists and public health officials are ramping up efforts to combat the expected rise in cases of H1N1 flu. Hospitals, doctors' offices and clinics started receiving the vaccine earlier this month, but so far it's only available in limited quantities and will have to be allocated piecemeal across the country. And some experts predict that the H1N1 epidemic will peak before the majority of vaccine doses can be produced.
The most common method of making flu vaccines requires chicken eggs to incubate viral strains. It takes three eggs to produce a single dose of H1N1 flu vaccine. Vaccination of every American would require more than 920 million eggs.
If that sounds like a big number to you, try asking a chicken farmer. Thankfully, America's modern agriculture system makes production on that scale possible. For now.
If the latest fad of animal-rights activism continues, however, our capacity to produce eggs -- and vaccines -- may be threatened.
What do animal rights activists have to do with the flu? Lobbying by these groups has the potential to diminish our domestic "egg security" by driving egg farmers out of business -- or at least out of the United States. Read More
It’s amazing to that so many people don’t realize how agriculture affects their lives. Once again, with the threat of H1N1 sweeping across the country, agriculture has supplied the materials needed to protect ourselves. As a society, if we were to abolish animal agriculture as some groups like the Humane Society of the United States are trying to accomplish, we would suffer greatly on a variety of fronts. The resources that animal agriculture provides are irreplaceable.