Martin W

this just in:

GRAIN News Release
14 March 2007

Bird flu: a bonanza for ‘Big Chicken’

A new report by GRAIN shows how bird flu is being used to advance the
interests of powerful agribusiness corporations.

One year ago, when governments were fixated on getting surveillance
teams into wetlands and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
was waving the finger of blame at Asia and Africa’s abundant household
poultry, GRAIN and other groups pointed out that large-scale
industrial poultry farms and the global poultry trade were spreading
bird flu — not wild birds nor backyard flocks. Today, this has become
common knowledge, even though little is being done to control the
industrial source of the problem, and governments still shamelessly
roll out the wild bird theory to dodge responsibility

However a more sinister dimension of the bird flu crisis is becoming
more apparent. Today, more than ever, agribusiness is using the
calamity to consolidate its farm-to-factory-to-supermarket food chains
as the small-scale competition is criminalised. Meanwhile
pharmaceutical companies mine the goodwill invested in the global
database of flu samples to profit from desperate, captive vaccine
markets. At the centre of this story are two UN agencies (FAO and the
WHO) using their international stature, access to governments and
control over the flow of donor funds to advance corporate agendas.

Quote from the report: “Agribusiness clearly suffers, at least in the
short-term, when bird flu breaks out. But, whether in Indonesia or
Russia, India or Egypt, governments and the various international
agencies have quickly come to the industry’s defence, and have even
managed to turn the bird flu crisis into an opportunity for the larger
corporations to consolidate their control over the long term. These
corporations, from CP in Thailand to Tyson in the US, have worked hard
to ensure that this happens.”


Read more in “Bird flu: a bonanza for ‘Big Chicken'”, available both
in PDF and as a web page:

In English: http://www.grain.org/articles/?id=22

In Bahasa Indonesia: http://www.grain.org/m/?id=117

The report will soon be available in French and Spanish.

For background information see also the GRAIN “Bird flu resource page”
here: http://www.grain.org/go/birdflu