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Don’t believe the scaremongers on avian flu

There is so much happening in the world these days, tragedies here in the country, in the United States, in Europe and in so many other parts of the world. We can’t pretend that it isn’t happening and now more than ever we have to open our eyes and really try to see everything going on around us. At the same time though we have to remind ourselves that we can’t always believe everything we are told. Discernment is now more important than ever – especially since we are being bombarded with information from all angles – news, blogs, and social media. We have to be able to sift through what we believe is real and what we believe is not real.

Such is the case of this “bird flu” outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga that has also been confirmed in Nueva Ecija as well. Since the news of bird flu hit people have been scared. It’s understandable. It is flu season after all and respiratory illnesses these days are a dime a dozen. It’s not surprising that people are getting nervous and feeling unsettled. In light of many recent terrible events plus the rainy season, this is just another piece of bad news that has everyone on edge.

However, just because we are scared doesn’t mean we should jump to conclusions. It’s always better to arm ourselves with facts before we make decisions. It’s quite easy to get swept into a frenzy listening to others. I’ve seen people wondering if our current crop of chickens and eggs are safe to eat and asking if the sickness is going to continue spreading and how to stop it. While it’s good to err on the side of caution, we also have to not get carried away.

Personally, our family loves to eat chicken and eggs. In fact, eggs are a regular daily staple in the household. So of course when the news of bird flu came out we were naturally a bit alarmed and concerned. However, it seems like we don’t need to panic – at least not yet. According to the Bureau of Animal Industry the sickness is only transmitted from animal to animal and eating chicken and eggs is fine as long as they are properly cooked.

To drive the point home even further the Philippine Egg Board Association and the United Broiler Raisers Association invited the media to a public demonstration of them eating eggs and chicken to debunk the fear that the bird flu has made poultry products unsafe for human consumption. In a very public display, officers from both organizations made it a point to chow down on different types of chicken and egg dishes highlighting the safety of both.

It may sound like a bit much but I think it is important for people to have as much information as they can in times of panic. Poultry products and subsequently the farmers who sell them are already being drastically affected in terms of sales and price decline in the past few weeks. It’s already obvious that this outbreak will affect farmers and their livelihood in the third quarter and while it is always important to be safe it is also important that products not be restricted entry into the market based on false information or as they say “fear mongering.”

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And again, as I mentioned in this day and age it is so easy to get people scared. Information spreads quickly and if it’s not the right information going viral than people will naturally react to what they read. It’s important that we continue to remain cautious with the information we have access to online and exercise discernment when we make choices on what to share and what choices to make.

Personally, I think we should remain vigilant but I also think we can continue to enjoy that breakfast of coffee and eggs – properly cooked – at least for now.

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I can’t believe what is happening in the United States at the moment. Did we hop into a time machine and go back to the 1930s? How is it 2017 and there are Nazi’s protesting in the land of the free and the home of the brave? I was seriously dumbfounded when I saw the white supremacists rallying with (tiki) torches and swastikas. It would be laughable if it weren’t serious.

I wrote in previous columns that the world is now more divided than ever. It’s sad but it really seems like as a human race we are on a wheel that keeps turning and keeps repeating. I guess it’s really true what they say that those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. We’ve all seen what intolerance and hatred can do to the world and yet here we are again, even more divided than ever and that hatred and violence is cropping up all over the world all over again.

Whether it’s here in our beloved country where the poor are continuously being gunned down in this so-called “war on drugs” or in Barcelona or in the United States, hate crimes, violence, and more continue on a regular basis. Why are we allowing fear and hate to motivate our actions once again. Haven’t we learned anything from the past? I can only surmise that we have not.

I pray that people wake up and put a stop to this type of behavior or I fear we may once again be on a collision course with a really rude global awakening. Political ties and partnerships are breaking down, angry words are being thrown at one another, and the leader of one of the greatest countries in the world is warning a rival that should he not “get in line” or “keep quite” that he will rain down fire and fury like the world has never seen before. That sounds just like the rhetoric that came before Hiroshima. I pray that we aren’t heading in that direction again.

Again, we have seen what being divided can do. I can only hope that people open their eyes and refuse to follow leaders who are telling them to do what they know in their hearts isn’t right. We have a chance to stop this train before we crash. We need to take it.

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