Martin W

From FAO website; not sure this info will be trumpeted by chief vet Joseph Domenech, who seems a big proponent of big poultry farming (and ready blamer of wild birds for much to do with H5N1).

There is an assumption that because the majority of HPAI outbreaks have been reported in smallholder backyard flocks, these operations are inherently more risky than other types of poultry operations. This assumption was tested using published data from the 2004 HPAI epidemic and concurrent active surveillance programme in Thailand. … Estimation of the crude risk of HPAI infection in 2004 by flock type as defined by the Thai animal health authorities, showed that, for example, although layer flocks only constituted one percent of all flocks, they accounted for five percent of all registered infected flocks. Quail flocks showed the highest risk of detected HPAI infection, nearly reaching 1.6 percent. Against widely held expectations, backyard flocks showed the lowest risk of detected HPAI infection, 0.05 percent, only one quarter that of layer and broiler flocks. … it appears warranted to review the ‘bio-security’ of commercial operations. … Campylobacter spp, for example, similar to HPAI virus, move among avian host species, both domesticated and wild and in both directions. The inability of conventional bio-security measures to prevent the movement of Campylobacter in and out of modern broiler facilities was clearly demonstrated in a recent study of Campylobacter-free broiler flocks in the USA, housed in sanitized facilities, using standard bio-security measures, and fed Campylobacter-free feed and water. … The above example provides ample evidence for the potential of pathogens to move in and out of standard, reputedly bio-secure, commercial poultry facilities, even in developed settings. … Given the much stronger political influence of commercial interests vis-à-vis smallholder producers there is a clear danger that regulators will opt for ‘easy’ solutions, such as imposing measures to make subsistence poultry production ‘safer’, eg forced housing or confinement of poultry. …

HPAI Risk, Bio-Security and Smallholder Adversity