Qui va endosser le coût de la grippe aviaire ?

Il y a cinquante ans, les fermiers américains qui élevaient des poulets découvrirent qu’en enfermant leur volaille, ils pouvaient produire des poulets de table à moindre coût et avec moins d’efforts qu’avec les méthodes fermières traditionnelles. Cette nouvelle méthode s’est développée et les poulets disparurent de nos champs, enfermés dans de longues étables sans fenêtre. L’élevage industriel était né.

Cela ne s’appelle pas « élevage industriel » simplement parce que ces étables ressemblent à des usines. Tout, dans les méthodes de production, est pensé pour transformer ces animaux vivants en machines à conversion de grains en viande ou en œuf au plus bas coût possible.

Promenez-vous dans une de ces étables, si le producteur vous en laisse le loisir, et vous y découvrirez jusqu’à 30 000 poulets parfois. Le Conseil national du poulet, l’association professionnelle de l’industrie américaine du poulet, recommande une densité de stockage de 548 cm² par oiseau : une surface inférieure à une feuille de format A4. Quand le poulet approche son poids de vente, il recouvre complètement cette surface. Aucun poulet ne peut plus alors bouger sans avoir à pousser d’autres oiseaux. Dans l’industrie des œufs, les poules peuvent à peine se déplacer, parce qu’elles sont coincées dans des cages de treillis métallique, ce qui permet de les stocker sur trois étages, les unes au-dessus des autres.

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