Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Ag Sec. on bird flu; Justice overhaul?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 20, 2015 11:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, July 20, 2015:

Pennsylvania poultry farmers who remember the 1980s know all too well how avian influenza can destroy their flocks of chickens and turkeys.  If the disease itself doesn't kill the birds, infected flocks have to be eliminated to prevent the spread of the disease.

Millions of chickens were destroyed in Pennsylvania when avian flu struck the state three decades ago.  The same thing is happening in the Midwest right now and Pennsylvania agriculture officials want to stop it before it reaches the Commonwealth.

The price of eggs has risen more than 80% in the last two months due to avian flu.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Craig Shultz, the state veterinarian and Director of the Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services appear on Monday's Smart Talk to discuss efforts to prevent the outbreak here.

Also, not often do progressives and conservatives agree on too much in today's political climate.

However, a new initiative launched last week by the U.S. Justice Action Network brings diverse political groups together in the name of criminal justice reform.  Specifically, the partners and the group support expunging the criminal records of offenders who committed certain non-violent crimes so they have more opportunities to become employed.  USJAN's Executive Senior Director Holly Harris joins us on Monday's Smart Talk.

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Secretary Russell Redding and Dr. Craig Shultz

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  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-20 12:20

    Cathryn adds...
    The correlation between legalization of abortion and reduction of crime rate years later was a hypothesis put forth in the book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner.

    It is based on statistics, whether or not you agree with the interpretation of those statistics.

    Steven Levitt revisited the topic on his blog here:

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-20 12:21

    Dave ask...
    Is there a threat to my backyard chickens? What is the threat to my flock if I incorporate new chicks through a mail order route or through a local dealer?

    • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-22 16:37

      Reply from the PA Dept. of Agriculture...
      All mail order hatcheries, including those in Iowa, are under robust avian influence surveillance testing according to the National Poultry Improvement Program (NPIP) . Hatcheries located within disease control zones are tested even more aggressively. Be sure to buy from a hatchery that is an NPIP participant. Birds and hatching eggs from disease control zones are permitted into receiving states – that is why you may experience some delay in having orders filled until this disease situation passes.

      Highly pathogenic avian influenza has had a much more severe impact on large commercial laying hen and turkey flocks. To date there have been 232 infected premises nationwide of which only 21 were back yard flocks. The epidemiology is being investigated but so far not all the risk factors are fully understood. Certainly basic bio-security practices to include the avoidance of sharing of equipment and personnel between flocks, minimizing exposure to wild birds, especially migrating waterfowl (on farm ponds etc.), and practicing disciplined rodent and insect control are of value in reducing risk. Contaminated service vehicles are also a concern in HPAI affected areas. Vehicle disinfection is very important.