First a virus came for our pork, infecting pigs with a deadly diarrhea and increasing supermarket prices for the meat nationwide. Now, another staple of the American carnivore is facing a biological threat of its own.
There’s a problem with chicken fertility.
Reuters reports that the Aviagen Group, the world’s largest chicken breeder, “has discovered that a key breed of rooster has a genetic issue that is reducing its fertility.” The report does not indicate the nature of the genetic problem. Rather, Aviagen “has acknowledged that an undisclosed change it made to the breed’s genetics made the birds ‘very sensitive’ to being overfed,” which presumably, in turn, decreases fertility.
Previously about 15 percent of eggs from Aviagen hens would fail to hatch chicks; now, that figure is 17 percent. That increase will translate to significant impacts on the market, as Aviagen sires as many as 25 percent of the nation’s chickens. In 2010, U.S. poultry farms produced 36.9 billion pounds of chicken, which is roughly on the same scale as the mass of concrete in China’s terrifyingly enormous Three Gorges Dam, and more massive than the great pyramid at Giza.
This comes at an inopportune time for the U.S. poultry industry. Due to recent hikes in the price of beef and pork, demand for chicken is expected to rise. Chicken companies would typically respond to such demands by increasing the number of chickens in the market, Reuters reports. With decreased fertility, that may not happen. Producers are scrambling to catch up.
“At this point the broiler industry has yet to make any consistent strong increases in production,” the Agriculture Department’s June poultry production report reads. “Although with good domestic prices, lower feed costs, and forecasts for price strength in the beef and pork industries, the broiler industry would normally be moving into an expansion mode.” Slow growth in chicken production led the USDA to decrease this year’s chicken outlook by 195 million pounds, which is equal to about the average yearly chicken consumption of 2.3 million Americans.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama became a surprise topic of contention toward the end of the Democratic debate, as Hillary Clinton reminded viewers that Sanders had challenged the progressive bona fides of President Obama in 2011 and suggested that someone might challenge him from the left. “The kind of criticism that we’ve heard from Senator Sanders about our president I expect from Republicans, I do not expect from someone running for the Democratic nomination to succeed President Obama,” she said. “Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” replied Sanders, before getting in another dig during his closing statement: “One of us ran against Barack Obama. I was not that candidate.”
It’s all about the 1% and Wall Street versus everyone else for Bernie Sanders—even when he’s talking about race relations. Like Hillary Clinton, he needs to appeal to African-American and Hispanic voters in coming states, but he insists on doing so through his lens of class warfare. When he got a question from the moderators about the plight of black America, he noted that during the great recession, African Americans “lost half their wealth,” and “instead of tax breaks for billionaires,” a Sanders presidency would deliver jobs for kids. On the very next question, he downplayed the role of race in inequality, saying, “It’s a racial issue, but it’s also a general economic issue.”
It’s been said in just about every news story since New Hampshire: the primaries are headed to states where Hillary Clinton will do well among minority voters. Leaving nothing to chance, she underscored that point in her opening statement in the Milwaukee debate tonight, saying more needs to be done to help “African Americans who face discrimination in the job market” and immigrant families. She also made an explicit reference to “equal pay for women’s work.” Those boxes she’s checking are no coincidence: if she wins women, blacks and Hispanics, she wins the nomination.
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.