Ethicists’ commentary on expertise and personal views when advising clients
Ethical question of the month, February 2023
I’ve been asked by a client if getting into chicken farming is too risky given what’s happening with avian influenza. This client has inherited a farm that can hold up to 30 000 birds and wants to know if he should contemplate this venture once the current situation with avian influenza is under control. My personal feeling is that we need to review and address our current practices to ensure this type of crisis does not recur, and housing 30 000 birds (or many more, in some cases) together without an effective vaccine will lead to similar occurrences in the future. But this type of dense housing is the norm and, once the current avian influenza crisis is over, it will most certainly resume — as will the risks. Do I suggest that he should stay away from intensive chicken farming at this time, since that is my belief? How can I support my client when I feel that this type of setup may put his future endeavors and his future birds at risk?
Clare Palmer, Peter Sandøe, & Dan Weary comment on this dilemma and you can read it here: Ethicists’ commentary on expertise and personal views when advising clients (pdf)