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Dead Vultures In The Woods Of Jersey Reveal Dark Secrets

The Letter “Z” Is For “Zoonotic”

A Wall Street Vulture Funds DEP Staff Junkets And DEP Logging

But No Money To Clean Up Infectious Dead Birds

A zoonosis (zoonotic disease or zoonoses -plural) is an infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans.

[Update: 8/29/22 – Bob Hennelly does some good accountability journalism, see:

NJ media reports that over 100 dead vultures are rotting in the forests of northwest NJ, but DEP lacks adequate staff to dispose of their carcasses so they are being left to rot – and infect other birds and wildlife:

The DEP is aware of over 100 black vulture deaths that have been occurring since early August off the Sussex Branch Trail in Lafayette, Sussex County, New Jersey. USDA has confirmed the cause as Avian Influenza (bird flu).

This is a phenomenon that has been observed in many states along the East Coast. Black vultures are seemingly very susceptible to Avian Influenza, and they tend to scavenge the carcasses of dead vultures, which can prolong the duration of a local outbreak such as the one being seen in Sussex County. The birds have been left to decompose on site due to rough terrain causing accessibility issues and a lack of personnel in the State certified to handle infected birds. Improper handling can lead to further spread of disease.

The risk of avian influenza being transmitted to people is extremely low. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and NJ DEP Fish and Wildlife are monitoring the situation.

As a result, it appears that the DEP has closed the Sussex Branch Trail  – I assume due to disease risks.

But don’t you feel comforted knowing that some unidentified source (likely DEP) claims – with no supporting facts or science – that the risk of transmission to humans is “extremely low” and that DEP is “monitoring the situation”?

But that risk may not in fact be “extremely low”, depending on the specific virus involved (COVID has shown just how quickly virus’ can mutate, and the dead bird carcasses and spread to other wildlife provides a larger “reservoir” of virus that will accelerate the rate of mutation):

Avian influenza viruses can cause infection in birds and humans.The classification of avian influenza viruses as ‘low pathogenic’ or ‘highly pathogenic’  is defined either by the composition of the cleavage site in the haemagglutinin (HA) gene or by the intravenous pathogenicity index in six-week old chickens in accordance with the criteria listed in Council Directive 2005/94/EC and the OIE International Health Standards. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) cause high mortality in infected chicken, while low pathogenic viruses (LPAIV) result in mild disease or asymptomatic infection.

Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely infects humans. More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the two strains that have most recently infected humans — H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly.

Regardless of the risk of transmission to humans, here’s a suggestion: the DEP bureaucrats in Trenton should get off their asses and out in the “rough terrain” woods and dispose of the infectious dead carcasses.

The DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has plenty of staff available to work to promote hunting and logging of State lands, including nearby Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

Maybe nearby Wall Street Vulture billionaire Peter Kellogg, who provided $4,850 per head to several DEP managers and staff to attend a weeklong junket and $330,000 to NJ Audubon to prepare a plan to log nearby Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area could cough up the dough to bury the dead birds.

I mean, Kellogg’s buddies at NJ Audubon care about the birds, right?

It is possible they could infect the birds his elite hunters slaughter at his Hudson Farm hunting grounds. We can’t have that! Those birds must be shot! (not killed by a virus!)

Maybe Kellogg could reciprocate for the environmental excellence award he was given by NJ Gov. Murphy – another Wall Street Vulture.

Seriously, the DEP’s problems here stem from the interaction of several factors that are now exposed by these dead birds. Let’s break that down:

1) There have been decades long bi-partisan State budget cuts and underfunding of the DEP, particularly in natural resource and scientific functions. This implements the right wing anti-government corporate agenda of “starve the beast” and make government small enough to “drown in the bathtub”.

2) DEP has adjusted to these budget cuts by laying off staff (downsizing) and shifting from reliance on Legislative appropriations to reliance on permit fees, under the guise of  a “polluter pay” policy. This slogan has masked the horrible impacts of shifting funding sources.

3) As a result, the only programs at DEP that are adequately funded are the permit programs, where DEP collects permit fees to fund the programs.

4) The shift in funding under “polluter pays” creates two really bad results:

a) the permit programs are captured by corporate polluters (who pay the permit fees) and they crank out permit approvals in 99% of permit applications;

b) the non-permit functions at DEP are starved for resources and staff, including science and natural resource activities that don’t serve permit programs.

5) This dynamic has forced the natural resource programs to emulate the permit programs and expand reliance on funds from user groups, like hunters, fishermen and logging.

6) In turn, this reliance on user group funding produces the same results as the polluters’ capture of the permit programs – the hunters and anglers and loggers who fund DEP staff determine policy and priorities in managing public lands and natural resources.

7) Finally, the DEP managers who have overseen this corruption of DEP are so immersed in it and captured that they’ve lost sight of true public interests and they have sold out their duty to manage “public trust” resources.

And all these secrets are now exposed by 100 dead black vultures.

But only if people, the NJ media and Trenton policymakers open their eyes.

[End Notes:

Laurie Garrett’s 1994 book The Coming Plague predicted the current zoonotic viral climate disaster.

Looks like the USDA takes the avian flu disease issues seriously.]

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