Stop Deadly Bird Flu Epidemic

Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture

Goal: Advocate for vaccine to prevent further outbreak of avian influenza.

An epidemic of avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu, is sweeping the world’s fliers. In the United States alone, a particularly virulent strain has been blamed for the death of nearly 60 million birds. Impacted animals range from hawks and geese to owls and vultures. The disease is posing a threat to already-endangered species like California condors. This virus is even transmitting to mammals that consume the dead birds, such as bears and foxes. And in the agricultural sector, millions of hens have been culled because of the outbreaks.

A vaccine given to birds would be the best hope of limiting further death and possible danger to humans as well. While avian influenza vaccines are currently being tested, many nations have refused to use these healthcare tools for farm birds because of worries of how the vaccines would impact “harvesting” of the birds. Meanwhile, these very same animals are still being lost to culling in massive numbers.

By all signs, bird flu may soon become endemic in America. Sign the petition below to urge leaders to think about the long-term ramifications of an unchecked and rapidly spreading illness that may put all living beings at risk.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Avian influenza is marching endangered birds closer to extinction, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of birds, and threatening to upend the agriculture sector. This evolving virus is indiscriminate in its lethal toll on both wild and domesticated birds. As it mutates, the now-infrequent cases of human infections may even multiply.

Countries such as Nigeria are apparently implementing a No Vaccine policy that would prevent the use of these medicines on farm birds. Justifications cite concerns about the impact of the vaccines on harvesting windows. But surely the millions of birds that are now being sacrificed to culling—and the subsequent economic impact—outweigh the potential drawbacks of vaccines.

This virus needs to be contained before it spirals out of control and endangers even more animals (including humans). History shows us that vaccines are the best defense against such unpredictable diseases. Please ensure that when a promising vaccine candidate is created and vetted, it receives your full backing and support.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Otwarte Klatki


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