By DAVID KLEPPER
An outbreak of avian flu is forcing farmers to cull their flocks and leading to concerns about even higher food prices. While it doesn’t pose a significant threat to humans, the outbreak is prompting a new wave of some of the same conspiracy theories that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts who study misinformation say claims that the avian flu is a bioweapon or an elaborate hoax reflect a deepening distrust of the media and scientific experts. For poultry farmers and animal health officials in affected states, however, the flu poses a threat that’s all too real for both their animals and their local economies.