Gobble a Bit Less?

The presence of feed only slightly tweaks and boosts the reported geographic distribution of wild turkeys in the Audubon Society‘s Field Guide, but whose geography of turkey production was artificially boosted by the arrival of those big amounts of cereals like soy and corn led to the largest hatchery in the world–

Audubon Field Guide/Wild Turkey

–if the actual concentration of different turkey species is indeed so broad to make them deeply and indelibly American.

The concentration of those farmed birds is definitely a lot more disproportionately dense than, for example, the distribution of farming of brussel sprouts, which seem somewhat more generously distributed in the northeast, where they are more popular,

–based on the break-downs of Google search trends for folks searching for vegetable side-dishes to go with the basted bird.

LA Times/Search Trends for Thanksgiving Sides, 2017

But as even a small number of folks have been actually infected with drug-resistant salmonella strains–17 in Minnesota; 11 in Texas; 16 in Illinois; 13 in California–the numbers are so small to suggest a pattern of exposure to raw turkey, but a strain resistant to multiple drugs and antibiotics–turkey that for at least three cases were in households where ground turkey meat was intended as pet food, but transmitted the notoriously contagious pathogens to humans.  But the recurrence in several strains of live turkeys across the country led to huge turkey recalls and fears of compromised tainted meat.  (The far more calming graphic of the CDC’s webpage seemed to try to ensure calm in the face of what might be a public health disaster, as if this might contain steep risks of a nation-wide outbreak even more serious numbers of infections.)

The deeply dangerous story of the origins of antibiotic resistance that seem to have developed at multiple points in the nation, but seems even more difficult to contain as they have been difficult to map, and raise the nightmarish specter of a generation of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella strains.

For the rise of resistant bacteria may well have arisen in one farm, best case scenario, driving from, say, Wisconsin’s Jennie-O brands, or from poultry farms in Texas, but the fear that it migrates to Thanksgiving tables on different sites of the nation, and not just birds from Texas, evokes fears of the parallel rise of resistant bacteria staring out from the map of salmonella incidence, raising the specter of microbial evolution that leaves us with less and less to be thankful about.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Float


Leave a comment

Filed under data visualization, factory farms, infographics, salmonella, thanksgiving

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.