The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) calls on Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio to phase out factory chicken farms and mega-dairies where diseases like bird flu can easily spread. 

The call has been prompted by outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus, which has resulted in the deaths of millions of birds on egg farms in Ohio and other states, and has already been detected in dairy cows in Wood County. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio has about 295 large-scale, industrial-farmed animal factories, so the risk of this disease spreading is considerable. These large animal factories force many animals to be housed in crowded conditions with minimal space, which threatens public health because this provides ideal conditions for viruses to spread, evolve, and even become zoonotic and infect people.

PCRM has 381 physicians in Ohio, 2.24% of all physicians that form the organisation nationwide, who are concerned not only for the animals involved but mainly for public health. They know very well that the recent pandemic of COVID originated from viruses jumping from non-human animals to humans, which is already beginning to happen with bird flu (as a handful of humans have already been infected).

PCRM has pointed out that farmers in Ohio grow many plant-based sources of protein, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. Walnuts are grown on about 981 acres in Ohio and provide protein, fibre, iron, and calcium. 

The Governor could support farmers in his state by asking the legislature to send him a supplemental appropriations bill that would establish a transition fund, similar to what has already happened in Vermont, which gives grants to farmers who wish to diversify or transition from one type of farming to another.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.