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Epidemiology and the Poultry Industry / Boyce Upholt

Florida chicken house

Greg Lance, he told me, this didn’t make the piece, but he told me, he was quite sick in April when the birds in Butler County where he lives were testing positive for this virus. At the time I think he just thought this is what it’s like to live near a chicken farm, he’s always sniffling, he’s always a little under the weather because he’s surrounded by feathers and dust and all kinds of other chicken detritus, but he’s looking back, and he’s like “I don’t know maybe I did have this too”. Yeah, it was definitely a thing that worried the people that live amidst this giant industry that’s really popped up quickly in the area over the past couple of years.

Investigative journalist Boyce Upholt wrote The New Republic article, "Will the Next Pandemic Start With Chickens?: This spring, a virulent strain of bird flu ripped through U.S. farms. The public hardly noticed. That we could ignore the disease shows just how little we’ve learned about the origin of new viruses.

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Boyce Upholt

Boyce Upholt is an award-winning freelance writer focused on the way we use and imagine the non-human world. He covers, among other subjects, public lands, exploration, biodiversity, foodways, infrastructure, and the cultural history of ”wilderness.” His work has appeared in The Atlantic, National Geographic, the Oxford American, and many other publications, and has been noted in the Best American Science and Nature series. Boyce won the 2019 award for investigative journalism from the James Beard Foundation. He is currently working on a book about the Mississippi River—a history of what’s been done to it and travelogue showing the results.


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