May 27, 2022

Share this article

A massive avian flu outbreak coupled with supply chain problems and rising gasoline prices fuel. Inflation is where it hurts the most; food prices. 

Food shortages

Food shortages are so much of an issue that President Biden met with G7 countries ten days ago to discuss the problem. Although the president blamed the rising cost of food on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, others have pointed to his policy of massive government spending. In addition, a wave of fires at food processing plants has raised concerns.

But an outbreak of Avian Flu is ravaging the US poultry and egg industry. Eggs and chicken are considered low-priced protein alternatives to beef. Still, avian flu has wiped out more than 22 million egg-laying chickens on commercial US farms this year, about 6% of the nation’s commercial flock, making it the worst outbreak since 2015, when nearly 50 million birds, mostly turkeys and egg-laying chickens in the U.S. Midwest, were killed. H5N1 avian viruses have been found in U.S. commercial and backyard birds in 29 states and wild birds in 34 states since the CDC started monitoring for illness among people exposed to the viruses in late, 2021making it the second-worst in history. Wild birds spread the disease, but the entire flock must be culled when it appears in a commercial flock.

The United States is the world’s second-largest poultry meat exporter and a major egg producer, with shipments reaching $4.2 billion in 2020. But importing countries, including Mexico, China, and Korea, have imposed state-specific import restrictions in response.

Reuters reported that wholesale prices for large eggs in the U.S. Midwest topped $3 per dozen in March and reached the second-highest level ever, up nearly 200% from a year earlier. Infections also hamper work at facilities that process eggs into products like dried eggs and liquid eggs. These products are used in processed food items.

Bird flu has hit poultry in Europe and Asia as well. France, the European Union’s largest egg producer, suffers an outbreak similar to the US. In France, wholesale shell egg prices have climbed 69% from last year.

The outbreak comes as world food prices jumped nearly 13% in March to a new record high. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index, which tracks the most globally traded food commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month versus an upwardly revised 141.4 for February. The FAO last month said food and feed prices could rise by up to 20% due to the conflict in Ukraine. The agency’s cereal price index climbed 17% in March to a record level while its vegetable oil index surged 23%, registering its highest reading yet, FAO said.

Birds die in the end of days.

This die-off of poultry is part of a much larger phenomenon that is prophesied to appear as part of the all-encompassing experience at the end of days.

For that, the earth is withered: Everything that dwells on it languishes— Beasts of the field and birds of the sky— Even the sea’s fish perish. Hosea 4:3

This die-off of beasts, birds, and fish is part of the process that will also decimate mankind in the end-of-days.

I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea. I will make the wicked stumble, And I will destroy mankind From the face of the earth —declares Hashem. Zephaniah 1:3

Rabbi Shaul Judelman, former director of the Ecology Beit Midrash, a religious study group focused on the environment as it is treated in classical Jewish sources, noted that ecological endeavors are clearly an element in the Final redemption.

“Nature is described as praising God, and Man was set to guard over it. Hashem (God) initiated our relationship with nature, and how we relate to nature is an expression of how we relate to Hashem. Nature is God’s aspect of Judgment as related by God’s name of Elohim, with which he created the world. In the end of days, when we are judged, we will be judged in this name, the name of nature. Some envision the end of days as armageddon and catastrophic. But according to Jewish tradition, there is another possibility that we can bring the Redemption in Achishena through the sweetening of the judgment. Part of this can definitely be expressed through nature.”

“The environment is our divinely mandated responsibility. As such, harsh judgments can cause natural catastrophes. But in times of drought, we are told to pray, but we are also told to engage in acts of charity. Nature is an extension of our relationship with God.”