The big bird flu problem everyone seems to forget about

Harding county has 1,311 humans living it in and 73,242 cows according to the most recent numbers.

People are afraid of bird flu, because of the possibility that it may start spreading from human to human. But even if that doesn’t happen, you’re already dealing with a massive problem right now.

It’s pretty clear they’re failing to contain this virus. Colorado has so far seen bird flu in 19 herds, one in april, three in may, fifteen in june, of which eight were in the past four days. This looks like exponential growth to me. Right now, 10% of the cows who catch the virus are dying of it. That number is not stable, it took time before bird flu in chickens evolved to be deadly enough to kill most birds that catch it. It’s perfectly possible that it becomes hard to sustain the dairy industry. We’re also starting to see the virus pop up in beef cattle.

The dairy industry in the US is worth about 3% of GDP. That makes it about as big as the video game industry in the United States. But imagine if for whatever reason, everyone suddenly stopped buying American video games. The problem would not be as big as it would be, if everyone suddenly stopped buying dairy.

You can produce video games anywhere, as long as you have a computer. In practice, most of the manufacturers will live in the big coastal cities. If president Biden declared video games will be illegal from now on so American teenagers get higher grades., video game manufacturers would have to look for another job. The graphics designers might start working in advertisement, the coders might be hired by Google. People probably can just continue living in the same city, in the same house.

With cattle, it doesn’t work like that. If you live in a town in rural South Dakota, there is no alternative. Perhaps there is a grocery store in town, a veterinarian’s office, a doctor’s office, a garage, a church, a bar, a school and a hotel. But people can work at those services, because the farmers spend their income there. Towns like this are economically viable because of the dairy farms, just as small Greek islands are only economically viable due to the tourists.

And if you work there, you probably don’t really have anywhere else to go, because you own a house, on which you have a mortgage. If the value of the house crashes because the economic opportunities are gone, then you can’t leave. So it’s not just dairy farming that becomes economically non-viable, when you have the herds dying and your workers getting sick. The services in your town start falling apart, when you can’t bring in money anymore by selling milk. The municipality may lose most of its tax revenue.

But it’s not just dairy. The cows eat grain that’s fed to them. The grain is often produced in the same general area, it’s costlier to ship it from around the world and America has plenty of good soils. When you don’t have dairy herds, you can’t feed the grain to them either. So what do you do with the grain? Bake bread out of it?

Well, to start with, the demand is just not there. Only 12% of grain produced in America is fed to humans, 44% goes to the animals. Often times, grain for animals is grown on poor quality lands, where grain for humans would be too poor quality. Just as there are entire parts of the country where everything revolves around producing milk, other parts of the country revolve entirely about producing grain fed to the cows. These are the sort of places where 90% of a county voted for Trump.

People there may live more than a day’s drive away from any alternative job opportunities. And if people don’t flee, if people continue to live there even as the farms go bankrupt, you have to ask yourself: Would people in New York and California be eager to cough up money to bail out the Trump counties?

I live in the Netherlands. We are right now in the middle of a situation very similar to this, it basically triggered a political revolution in the country. Nitrogen pollution issues from animals became so severe our trees in our wildlife reserves started dying. So the government officials proposed halving the livestock population in the country.

That would have forced a bunch of farms to shut down, in the sort of small Dutch towns that basically have nothing else they produce than dairy. A majority of the population in these towns voted for a new party that was only founded a few years ago, that now rules the country together with Geert Wilders party.

It’s an appealing idea perhaps to use the fertile soils to grow other crops, to set up more sustainable forms of agriculture like permaculture, but that’s not easy to achieve either. If you lived in Iowa and decided you wanted to start growing blackberries instead of dairy, you wouldn’t even have the workforce available to harvest the berries for you. Why do we produce so much dairy? Why do Western governments subsidize it? It’s because this is food that you can produce with very little human labor. And as long as you subsidize these farms, you help keep all the other businesses in town afloat too.

So, are vaccines going to save the day? Well, you’re asking counties where 90% of people vote for Trump to inject their cows with mRNA products. In practice, we’ve seen that these COVID vaccines have not worked. That’s not my opinion, it’s just mainstream science that these vaccines work for a few months until the virus has mutated enough to work around the antibodies. Influenza mutates faster than corona viruses, so it’s just not going to work. Worse, you’re going to generate new variants of the virus, that will be able to jump into other species. We already saw this happen with the bird flu in chickens.

And the other problem with vaccination against bird flu, is original antigenic sin. Scientists have already looked at this. When you vaccinate a young animal never before exposed to influenza against H3N2, the animal becomes much more vulnerable to H5N1, with 100 times higher virus levels in the lungs. So when you try to vaccinate young cows against the bird flu, this is what you can expect: You make these animals much more vulnerable to other influenza viruses.

I have said it before: People still have a choice. I have a weak spot for small town America, I don’t say these things out of some kind of hatred. A state like Iowa can just switch over to growing oats, it used to be one of the main crops. You can feed people milk made of oats, instead of the milk from a cow. There are no lethal viruses that will jump from oats into humans.

Oat milk is not some kind of chemical slob, it’s just what we used before we became rich through the industrial revolution. In the 17th century, people already drank oat milk. They drank almond milk in the 13th century. It takes time to set up the infrastructure, it takes time for the farmers to learn to grow a different crop, it takes time for people to start drinking something else, all these things take time.

The alternative of course, is to stick your head in the sand, look at the sick cows being sent off for slaughter and pretend that this is not going to start causing trouble. That seems to be what everyone is settling on.

So what happens then is that you throw money at the problem, in an effort to keep business as usual going. They try to stop the virus from spreading, but that’s not going to work. It jumps from birds into cows and from cows into mice, cats and birds.

Since 2022, the United States has suffered its worst bird flu outbreak ever in chickens. You can now add the cattle to this, who will spread it back to chickens, increasing not just the cost in cattle, but in the chickens. All of this is unsustainable and importantly, this is a virus that is still evolving.

After a virus like this evolves a polybasic cleavage site it becomes able to replicate in endothelial cells. This means it’s now in the process of adjusting its genes to replicate in endothelial cells. And of course, it has only just started adapting to mammalian cells. It’s in the process of evolving to become very different from influenza as we know it.

Whether people like to hear it or not, this whole way of life has become unsustainable. People will have to transition to eating other things than animal products, as the huge numbers of animals living together in small facilities have led to the birth of new types of viruses that we are now going to be stuck with for the rest of our lives.

That transition will require more labor to produce food, which in turn will require more people to participate in food production. If we don’t embark on this transition, we’ll set ourselves up for disaster. But when I look on Twitter, it seems American LSWMs have settled on the idea that the whole thing is a hoax, invented to shut down meat production.

The underlying problem

Well, I’m sorry, but this has been unfolding for decades now. China has struggled with the problem since 1997 or so. It’s just evolution doing what it tends to do whenever a single particular species grows exponentially in population. This is not caused by Klaus Schwab or Bill Gates, it’s caused by our chickens weighing more than all the wild birds combined. Put them all together in dark cages with poor ventilation, make them all genetically identical, breed them to grow as fast as possible and you make the perfect place to breed super viruses, that don’t have to keep the birds alive to spread rapidly. And this is a one-way process: These viruses don’t grow mild again in the wild, they’re unable to. Rather, they spread until they go extinct, generally because they killed too many of their hosts.

Wild waterfowl in nature live about five to ten years. They travel around the world, spreading mild versions of influenza. This forces influenza viruses to stay mild, because the sick birds can’t fly around the world to spread the viruses. They also develop immunity to various influenza virus strains. But the deadly influenza viruses evolve in chickens that only get to live for about 48 days. These viruses evolve to do just one thing: Replicate as fast as possible, using every available tissue of the birds. That causes polybasic cleavage sites to evolve. Enzymes can bind at those sites, allowing the virus to enter cells it could normally not use, like endothelial cells in the brain.

The chicken boilers, the dairy farms, the beef cattle ranches, are all going to be dealing with this for the rest of our lives. There is no way to stop it, because we know the virus also jumps into cats, birds, humans and mice. There won’t be herd immunity either, because a dairy cow only lives for 4.5 to 6 years, meaning that you always have a share of young cows who have never been exposed to the bird flu virus before.

The solution is for people to just accept that it’s over, that you will need to find some other way to produce food. If people wait with accepting that, then the transition is just going to be much more painful and difficult.

22 Comments

  1. I for one welcome any chaos this causes. It’s not my problem if farmers who rely on government subsidies in order to ensure their industry is profitable suffer. Hey buddy, how about you actually contribute to society instead of relying on government handouts? Oh your town won’t survive without your precious dairy farms? Not my problem, go join the army or start growing oats. Get together with the other LSWMs in your computer and pool your money together to start a farm, I really don’t care.

    The money spent to subsidize meat and dairy should be going to the military or NASA, not going to Billy Bob’s rape farm so LWSMs can buy hamburger for cheaper than 30$ a pound. Healthcare is the number one tax drain in this country, and that’s mostly because all of the subsidized meat, dairy, and processed crap Americans shove down their throats. My country would be so much better off without the massive subsidized meat and dairy industries. Sorry, but if half a industry’s profits comes from government subsidies, that industry is parasitical on the wider nation.

    Let meat fall back to being the luxury good it’s been throughout most of human history, and let people eat the diets that were good enough for their ancestors for thousands of years. Lets take all the money used to feed LSWMs cheap meat and all the money spent on helping LSWMs escape from the consequences of eating cheap meat; and lets pump all that money into the military and vital infrastructure instead.

    If Bird Flu spells the end of the American farming industry, than that further shows that the way we’re running our nation today is stupid. If an industry cannot compete in the market or survive on its own terms, there is no need to try and forcibly keep it alive.

    • Bizarre comment. Some countries have such high labor costs that agriculture would just stop. There is no way Switzerland or the Czechs can have their own production without subsidies. Some form of food autarky is always a good idea.

      • Autarky and subsidies can only be justified if it serve’s a nation’s interests to pursue those policies, and subsiding food (meat, dairy, and processed food) that causes our government to have to spend 1.5 trillion dollars a year on healthcare costs isn’t in the nation’s interest. Only four percent of farming subsidies go to fruit and vegetables. The vast majority of government farming subsidies go to keeping meat cheap for LSWMs who are too poor to be able to afford if the the market was dictating prices. Does this have any tangible benefit to the nation? No. It’s welfare that makes people sick. Those LSWMs who eat red meat all their lives get put on medicare and medicaid when they get old, cost over a trillion a year, and drive up medical costs for everyone else.

        Autarky for the most part is a stupid idea, Should we have the government pay for mining next because local miners can’t compete with Africa labor costs? How about we just transition to State Socialism and let the government dictate all economic activity in the nation next?

        You could justify keeping any other inefficient industry by it being a “good idea” too. “It’s a good idea” No, it isn’t. The free market is what is efficient. The only time when the free market should be interfered with is when it serves the social good, and the way we do things now is not serving the social good.

        Switzerland does not need to farm cattle if doing so does not make economic sense. The thought they should is retarded. Will the Swiss go hungry if they don’t farm cows? No, there’s plenty of food around that they can purchase from surrounding and racially similar countries. The lack of government handouts would force farmers to either actually contribute to the economy in another career where they’re actually producing a profit, or encourage them to be efficient in their farming practices and contribute to the economy in that way.

        People have to eat, there will always be food available, let the market be free to drive down the costs of food through ingenuity rather than state influence.

        • To avoid hypocrisy, you should avoid making any statement other than: “Let my god the market decide” from this point out.

          • Can you see why it’s a poor argument to make from the outset?

            Free-market fundamentalism is just shit.

            Sorry you had to hear it from me.

  2. > And the other problem with vaccination against bird flu, is original antigenic sin. Scientists have already looked at this. When you vaccinate a young animal never before exposed to influenza against H3N2, the animal becomes much more vulnerable to H5N1, with 100 times higher virus levels in the lungs. So when you try to vaccinate young cows against the bird flu, this is what you can expect: You make these animals much more vulnerable to other influenza viruses.

    Yes, and you have also discussed the OAS problem with regards to the COVID vaccines.

    Not just OAS, but you’ve also mentioned the problem of not being able to vaccinate against these future SARS2 variants because the NTD and RBD will be covered by glycans and interfering IgG4 antibodies, as well as peptide mimicry meaning that any attempt to vaccinate will only cause autoimmune disease in the host, as the vaccinal antibodies would start attacking healthy tissue.

    So, you won’t be able to vaccinate humans against H5N1 and future variants of SARS-CoV-2 due to these aforementioned problems.

    You would think that the virologists, immunologists and vaccinologists working for the WHO and pharmaceutical companies would know this. And yet they are trying to push through their Pandemic Preparedness Treaty/Accord and secure funding for more mRNA vaccines despite these aforementioned problems, because these people are narcissistic arrogant greedy power hungry maniacs full of hubris. Some of them may be genuinely evil as well.

    I’m genuinely frightened right now.

    Anyway, how will they be able to pull any of this off? If H5N1 jumps into humans and has a 50% mortality rate, or these SARS2 variants that escape the NTD antibodies have a 25% fatality rate in highly vaccinated nations, how will they be able to manufacture and deploy these vaccines? The scientists and engineers who work for the pharmaceutical companies will be dying from disease and/or afraid to leave their homes, and the volunteers/military personnel that would be administering these vaccines in the vaccination centres would also be dying from disease and/or afraid to leave their homes.

    So I don’t see how they’re going to pull off the logistics of all this while there is chaos and societal collapse happening all around them.

    I can’t believe that this is actually happening.

    P.S. @SYM you were posting comments at like 6 A.M. in the PNW. Were you awake really early, or up all night?

    • >Anyway, how will they be able to pull any of this off? If H5N1 jumps into humans and has a 50% mortality rate, or these SARS2 variants that escape the NTD antibodies have a 25% fatality rate in highly vaccinated nations, how will they be able to manufacture and deploy these vaccines? The scientists and engineers who work for the pharmaceutical companies will be dying from disease and/or afraid to leave their homes, and the volunteers/military personnel that would be administering these vaccines in the vaccination centres would also be dying from disease and/or afraid to leave their homes.

      Well, unlike SARS2, this has not been designed in a lab.

      When it goes human to human, it will most likely be slow at first. It takes the protein time to adjust to human receptors, whereas SARS Spike protein was well adapted to humans from the moment we first observed it. We know this, because there was only really 1 mutation seen in Spike that had a selective advantage, until it had to change to cope with people’s antibodies against it.

      So we’re likely to first see limited spillovers, with people in the same household catching it, or people in hospitals getting infected by patients.

      That’s arguably scarier, because that means governments end up forced to take the “Chinese” approach.

      They can’t afford to let a new virus that kills 10% of people spread.

    • >P.S. @SYM you were posting comments at like 6 A.M. in the PNW. Were you awake really early, or up all night?

      The latter, lel.

  3. Problems, problems

    Chocolate is getting expensive because of a virus attacking cacao trees, another virus that attacks citrus plants is wreaking havoc in Florida, and we may have to switch away from our standard Cavendish banana because of a fungal disease.

    I definitely don’t like the solution of injecting farm animals with genetic material but it’s going to happen.

  4. A very large chunk of what passes for the human race is toast.
    Western civilization anyway. The death of a thousand tiny assaults.
    There’s no financial incentive to change course. And in the back of
    The Elite’s minds is the confident optimism that it will not affect them. Someone Will Find A Way To Make It Work.

  5. To clarify, the reason most LSWM are hideously averse to that ideas seems to be the fact that the leftists running media/social media/education seem to constantly jump at the chance to amplify any piece of data that makes animal agriculture seem like a bad idea. They are not very subtle about this bias, therefore when yet another reason why it’s wrongbad to ranch cattle comes out, people are predictably skeptical. This is not without reason.

    I myself have been a permaculture sperg for many many years, so I much prefer to see a patchwork of mixed crops, goats, chickens, fish, rabbits and so being circulated at local farmer’s markets, and I believe in general principles of decentralization, redundancy and variety.

    I find myself in a very odd place watching this play out, because I’ve seen big risks in the centralization of agriculture since 2012 or so. I tried to sound an alarm back then.

  6. I don’t see a big logistical problem with switching the U.S. population to vegan. I was an ultra strict vegan for 19 years and I made oat milk using raw oats and my blender. I made nut cheese and bean-based cheese myself; they weren’t for sale then. Ground flax seed works for baking. Tofu works for egg scramble. Farm industry wages are really, really low; the government could replace them. Replacing the wealth of the industrial farm owners would be harder.

    This wouldn’t kill small farming area towns much more than they’ve already been killed. They do not have vet offices, doctor’s offices or grocery stores; people who live there already drive a couple of hours to get to those things. That’s one of the reasons that farmers notoriously ignore their own terrible illnesses and injuries and walk around with a half chopped off leg for weeks until it turns gangrenous.

    My big worry would be meat. If there were no beef for sale, Americans would hunt to extinction everything else. Back in the 70s when beef was costly, if you bought beef stew at a football game from someone’s tailgate serving arrangement, it might be raccoon.

    I think they are trying to slow down the release of news on this. For years you could go to the covid sewage site of the county of Santa Clara, CA, and click through to the Influenza A data – and over the past few months you could see the big out of season spikes in the Gilroy area. A week ago that page was taken down. I noticed that Marc Johnson, the sewage guy, started to post on bird flu but then he quickly shut up about it entirely.

    A guy who spends his life wandering national parks in California just posted this on Naked Capitalism:
    “Walked with the park archaeologist last weekend, and she’s in superb shape, and a few days later she’s sick as a dog with a 105 degree fever and is admitted to the hospital and they take x-rays and see masses in her lungs, which turns out to be pneumonia. She took a couple Covid tests-both negative.”

    Dr. John Hess just posted (on twitter) about an elderly patient of his who had funny salivary gland symptoms. The patient told him that it was just like when he had mumps as a kid. He tested him and along with actually having mumps, they guy had Influenza A (out of season). This was the first mumps case that Dr. Hess has seen in 29 years of practicing medicine. I wonder what is up with that.

    • It could already be infecting many people.

      The problem is that it’s easy to measure SARS2 in sewage: It’s a virus that happily replicates in the gut, from where it tends to spread.

      That makes it easier to follow without a small number of people distorting the numbers you measure.

      The bird flu strains don’t seem to be like that.

      It showed up in Palo Alto too.

      Problem is, we really don’t know why. It’s known to be infecting mice too, which live everywhere.

    • Yeah you don’t see a problem with authoritarianism or with everyone else having their fucking aorta calcify until it cracks like yours.

      Your idiocy would kill us all if you were let anywhere near the levers of power. It’s a good thing your insane theories will never be more than comments on obscure blogs. Let it so remain.

      • I said logistical. You have an ongoing problem with reading comprehension.

        I’m pretty much the only person that I know over 40 who isn’t on blood pressure meds (and I don’t need them), so I seem to have survived my vegan time. It’s funny; if it hadn’t been for covid I might not have thought to take nattokinase and nattoserra.

    • It’s not practical to try to make veganism the law.

      Literally all we’d have to do to get most people have to begin eating a mostly vegan diet is to get rid of government subsidies, and letting the market determine prices.

      The few Americans who will raise their own meat animals in-response to this would be irrelevant compared to the masses that will just buy what’s affordable at the grocery store.

      This was true 85 years ago when Harry S. Truman first started providing corporate welfare for the dairy industry, and it’s just as true today.

      Now environmental conditions are ensuring that things as they are now can’t continue.

    • It is clear that food prices are too low, and that is probably because governments steal from people (taxation and debt promissory notes) and spend a significant amount of that on food.

      If people had to pay the real cost of foods upfront, their diets would probably look very different.

      Morally, it is absolutely disgusting to tax vegetarians to force them to pay for the slaughter of animals.

  7. >Well, to start with, the demand is just not there. Only 12% of grain produced in America is fed to humans, 44% goes to the animals. Often times, grain for animals is grown on poor quality lands, where grain for humans would be too poor quality. Just as there are entire parts of the country where everything revolves around producing milk, other parts of the country revolve entirely about producing grain fed to the cows.

    Double beef price, remake them genetically more like pasture cows, have them roam these GIANT areas and let them directly dump on marginal land until melioration happens and the output is about the same.
    Just at double or triple the price.

    Humans will adapt.

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The patients in the mental ward have had their daily dose of xanax and calmed down it seems, so most of your comments should be automatically posted again. Try not to annoy me with your low IQ low status white male theories about the Nazi gas chambers being fake or CO2 being harmless plant food and we can all get along. Have fun!

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