By Barbara H. Peterson

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According to WMUR 9, “Low-cost vaccines that may help prevent the kind of salmonella outbreak that has led to the recall of more than a half-billion eggs haven’t been given to nearly half the nation’s egg-laying hens.”

All I can say, is thank goodness we still have un-vaccinated hens!

Reading a little further down in the article, it seems that both farms involved in the recall, Hillandale and Wright, used vaccinations, or purchased vaccinated hens: 

Both farms involved in the recall vaccinated some of their chickens.

Julie DeYoung, a spokeswoman for Hillandale Farms, said the company began purchasing vaccinated laying hens in September 2009. The company didn’t vaccinate older hens but replaced them with vaccinated ones as they went out of production, she said.

“So about 80 percent of the hens have been vaccinated,” DeYoung said.

Wright County Eggs has vaccinated some hens since 2009, investing more than $570,000 in the effort..

So how could this outbreak have occurred among vaccinated hens? Rest assured, the FDA is hot on the trail, and investigating the problem:

The FDA is now investigating the pullet operations of Wright County Egg. Pullets are young chickens being raised until they’re large enough to begin laying. The FDA says the supplier that provided them with newly hatched chicks had been certified as free of salmonella enteritidis for more than a decade. This might indicate that the infection that developed later among the pullets was the source of the infection in the laying hens, which then went on to infect the eggs. (USA Today)

And the FDA’s recommendation? Vaccinate more chickens! Why, of course. But wait, I have a question. If the hens at both Hillandale and Wright were vaccinated, and supposedly protected, why did they get Salmonella? If you ask me, it looks like the vaccine may have caused the outbreak, or at the very least, contributed to it. “There are two forms [of the vaccine]. One is a spray that uses a live bacteria, and chickens inhale it. The other contains dead bacteria that’s injected (WMUR 9).”

It is a well-known fact that when any animal is vaccinated with a live virus, this virus can be shed to others in the vicinity. And not only can the original virus be shed, but:

Professor Poss and her Penn State colleagues Yee Ling Chong, graduate student in biology; Abinash Padhi, post-doctoral fellow and Peter J. Hudson, Willaman professor of biology, found that one vaccine strain recombined – exchanged genetic material – with at least three wild strains, creating new viruses. (Poultry Site).

Let’s see… If I had several thousand chickens, ran a CAFO, and had the choice of whether to administer a live vaccine that the chickens inhale, or had to administer an injection to every chicken, which would I choose?

Here is some information about live vaccines from the Poultry Site:

“Many vaccines in the animal industry are developed by modifying a virulent live virus,” said Mary Poss, professor of biology and veterinary and biomedical sciences at Pennsylvania State University. “These vaccines elicit a strong protection against disease.”

However, vaccinated birds can shed the vaccine virus to infect other birds, and live virus vaccines do not always protect birds from infection from other viral strains of Newcastle disease.

A live vaccine is a live vaccine, whether it is for Newcastle, Salmonella, or H1N1, and the dangers are the same. Yet the FDA is touting the Salmonella vaccine, a potential cause of the outbreak, as the cure-all to future outbreaks, when the real problem is the living conditions in which chickens and other creatures are forced to live out their lives when confined to a CAFO.

Organic, free range chickens are less likely to get sick because they do not live in filth, which leads to a lowered immune system and disease. This is common sense. My chickens are free range, un-vaccinated, and I have yet to encounter a sick one. Think about it. Filth, living in a cage with no room to move 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, along with excessive antibiotics and GMO feed, all add up to weak, sickly chickens. Now spray these pitiful wretches with a live virus, or place them in the vicinity of chickens who have been sprayed, and you have a situation ripe for creating the disease that you want to get rid of.

So, is the answer more vaccines? NO! The answer is to get rid of factory farming methods and return to natural organic methods. Trying to fix one problem with another problem is not the answer. Creating the conditions ripe for disease, then using vaccines to try and prevent the disease that you are causing that might even be a causative factor is not only foolhardy, but seriously pathological.

© 2010 Barbara H. Peterson

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