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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

US can't monitor for bird flu in poultry or wild birds.

Given how Dubya's administration won't adequately fund federal agencies unless they deal with the 'war on terror' or funnel money to GOP backers, it shouldn't be a surprise that the feds' efforts to track avian flu in domestic and wild birds is pathetic almost nonexistent:

In a 38-page report, the inspector general said USDA relies too heavily on voluntary state and commercial programs to monitor and test domestic and wild birds.

The voluntary reporting makes it difficult for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to draw conclusions, know how much surveillance is taking place in different states and uncover changes in the disease such as rate of prevalence.

APHIS officials later told the inspector general that the agency had only recently received adequate funding to bolster its surveillance program and was working to increase monitoring in areas where it was needed most....

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, the top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, said the audit was further proof USDA was not prepared for an outbreak of avian influenza.

"This report reiterates my concerns about USDA's preparedness plans in the event of a potential avian influenza outbreak, especially if a strain like H5N1 is found in the United States," said Harkin. "The federal government continues to push the responsibility of finding and responding to a possible outbreak of avian influenza on states."
[Emphasis mine]

That 'adequate funding' that the Ag Department received for bird flu surveillance was US$ 91 million for 2006. For comparison, the occupation of Iraq is costing US$ 8 billion per month.
Thousands of us may die from avian flu because its presence among US poultry wasn't detected early enough but — dammit — those terrorists will get stopped in their tracks in Iraq.

Via Reuters.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:11 PM | Get permalink




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