Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nation of Dunces?

Are enough people stupid enough to cause a decline in pork sales because they are afraid becoming infected with swine flu? Apparently so, which is why American swineherds have lobbied federal officials to refer to the epidemic as an outbreak if H1N1 virus instead of swine flu.

U.S. officials want 'swine' out of flu name


Lou said...

I had the chicken pox over 40 years ago, and I haven't eaten chicken since. Better safe than sorry.

Bob said...

Pork producers have deceived Americans for years into thinking that pork is produced on farms that treat animals humanely.

The ignorance the pork industry has cultivated has come back to bite them in the ass.

Scotty said...

In a word, the answer is: yes!

Ulla said...

Does anyone know if factory farming makes flues like this more possible? I always have a knee jerk reaction against all the meat alarmists.

Bob del Grosso said...

I theory when you crowd thousands of animals of the same species together it makes it much more likely that any population of microbes or viruses that live in them will produce a strain that can jump to humans. So more densely populated farms are more likely to produce virulent strains than less densely populated farms.

So yeah, a gigantic hog farm with thousands of animals is more likely to produce something nasty than a small farm with few animals.

However, if you pack a lot of small farms close together you have the same problem. Much of China is loaded with small farms very close together and loaded with ducks and chickens. That's why most flu viruses come out of Asia: they develop in the avian population.

So really the problem is not factory farms, but too many animals of the same species packed into a too small geographic area.

Scotty said...

I agree with you in general, Robert, but some discussion I have see over the past few days suggest that this IS avian flu, a new strain mutated and transmitted via pigs.

This is getting a bit too "I Am Legend" for me.

Bob said...

The main trouble with factory farms isn't flu viruses, though it is a problem, especially when they overmedicate the poor pigs with antibiotics.

The main trouble with factory farms is massive quantities of feces and urine overcoming the waterways of our country because the government makes exceptions to the pollution laws for "farms" that don't apply to "factories."

This is why Smithfield et ilk always deny that they run factories but rather "accept pigs from family farms."

Ulla said...

Fascinating. I agree it seems logical that the more pigs there are the more likelihood that there is a chance of a new virus because their are millions of immune systems combating virus. With that said, factory farms are contained away from people, and can be controlled more with testing. Back in the medieval ages, chickens and pigs walked freely in small villages just like in China. Sars killed people who handled birds on a small scale, not a factory scale.
The scary part about this flu is that it does not need pigs any more to infect us. So scary!

This is definitely food for thought.