Avian Influenza Fallout - 35 Million Chickens Lost and New Ammunition for the Conscious Consumer

Following Avian Influenza Outbreak, Industry Leaders Examine Procedures and How to Control Avian Influenza, according to Egg Innovations

Jul 23, 2015, 10:00 ET from Egg Innovations

WARSAW, Ind., July 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak this spring left farmers and consumers with staggering numbers: 35 million chickens died, an estimated $3.3 billion spent due to the crisis and egg prices have increased 17 percent per carton due to supply and demand.*

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150722/240069

While many Americans want and demand cheap food, now is the time that the conscious consumer makes even more sense. Their ingrained values care about how animals are treated, if chemicals are used and the quality of the food. 

"Fortunately the conscious consumer is emerging and is driving a taste for fresh food, while also wanting to feel good about what we put in our bodies," said John Brunnquell, president, Egg Innovations, who is proudly introducing the new Blue Sky Family Farms brand. "This consumer also is willing to pay a little more for that privilege."

The Crisis Behind the Crisis

In the wake of the AI crisis, it is time to examine the big farming practices. In short, this is the mega factory farm egg laying operations that started in the early 1960s, according to the American Egg Board. These are highly efficient, huge connected barns of up to 6 million caged birds pumping eggs onto conveyor belts to supply the "breaker" industry (liquid eggs used in everything from pancake mix to ice cream). 

The downside of this approach is one of the first rules of biosecurity is to not congregate large populations of those who are potentially susceptible in tight quarters. Once introduced, the HP5 AI spreads rapidly and is more than 90 percent fatal within eight days. And despite calls to the contrary, it's interesting to note that almost all of the recent layer-hen fatalities occurred in these types of facilities in geographically close vicinities.

The reality has estimates of 9 to 18 months for a farm to recover from an infection and the USDA scrambling for answers.

That means small flocks should be in geographically-diversified locations with room to roam and do what chickens naturally do: perch, flap, dust bathe, nest, forage and socialize. It keeps them safer. These environments also help hens, known as Free Range and Pasture Raised hens, build natural immunities to AI. This type of production is hard to scale and more expensive to run because the birds actually go outside yet it protects the hens.  

"Our solution for farmers and consumers is simple: Turn back to small farming practices where flocks are safe and protected," added Brunnquell. "I always tell people to look for Free Range and Pasture Raised eggs on the labels at your grocer and vote with your wallet for the humane treatment of chickens." 

More about Blue Sky Family Farms

Blue Sky Family Farms, proudly presented by Egg Innovations, originates "Ethical Eggs for the Humane Race."  Blue Sky Family Farms is a 100 percent Free Range and Pasture Raised egg company that believes in humanely raising hens. www.BlueSkyFamilyFarms.com  www.EggInnovations.com


*Cost of the crisis – source here.  Cost of eggs increasing 17 percent – source here.



SOURCE Egg Innovations