March 24, 2004, Immigration, Population Density And The Avian Flu

Immigration, Population Density And The Avian Flu Outbreak Just Outside The Greater Vancouver Area

Dear Prime Minister Martin and Fellow MP's:

You and most Canadians undoubtedly heard the news today, March 24, 2004 that three more poultry farms have been diagnosed with the virus that causes Avian Flu. To date, a total of five farms have been infected. The Canadian Food Inspection Service, after destroying the birds at the three new locations, will have destroyed well over 300,000 animals. This number is only a fraction of the millions of birds that are being raised in the area just outside the Greater Vancouver area, and if the disease spreads, it could cause havoc in the poultry industry there.

Here are a few points and questions which you and your colleagues should consider:

(1) The poultry industry just outside of the Greater Vancouver area has doubled in the 1993-2003 time frame. According to a poultry official with B.C.'s Ministry of Agriculture, the doubling is largely in response to the inflow of around 800,000 people into the Greater Vancouver and surrounding areas in the last 15 years.

(2) The largest segment in this inflow has been Asian immigrants who,
coincidentally, according to the B.C. Agriculture official, have a strong preference for poultry. One of the short-term economic gains for B.C. farmers has been a very large increase in the amount of chicken meat and turkey meat produced, the number of table eggs and broiler hatching eggs produced, and a very large increase in the number of farms involved in this and other specialty production. However, the long-term costs of crowding many millions of animals into this small area have yet to be calculated–although those costs may start being calculated over the next few weeks.

(3) Agricultural experts willingly admit that waste “management” from the very large number of poultry and other agricultural operations is a major concern in this and many other areas in Canada–especially those areas close to large population centres. These experts will also freely admit that contamination of groundwater as a result of disposing of animal fecal waste is a major concern. In the area iaffected by Avian Flu, these experts will admit that half of the water wells suffer from contamination. However, not many of these experts like to talk about the dangers the animals pose to one another by being on farms so close to one another. Neither do these experts like to talk much about a cloning of the southern China SARS situation just outside of the Greater Vancouver area. But the following question should arise: “Is there a limit to the number of chickens, turkeys, other poultry, other animals (humans included) that can safely co-exist in this or any other area?” Actions up to this time seem to imply that there are no limits other than market limits.

(4) Many Canadians have never owned livestock, but those who have done
so, understand that great farm disasters are gradual events. They seldom happen suddenly. There are always many warnings. A wise steward sees the warnings and acts to nip the problems in the bud. Here is one final question that all Canadians in this and the other large urban
immigration-receiving areas of Canada should ask: Might this Avian Flu
outbreak be a warning from Nature about the limits She draws on
human/non-human density per square kilometre of any area?

What should the wise steward's response be?

Best wishes,
Dan Murray,
Immigration Watch Canada