Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hachooo.... oh, I mean "oinkchoo"

May 1st Update - Well, since I wrote this post a day or two ago, the "confirmed deaths" number has dropped down quite a bit. Quoting the World Health Organization's numbers, Bloomberg says there are only 10 confirmed deaths. Beware the difference between suspected deaths and confirmed deaths, and the need of the mainstream media to sensationalize their stories!


I haven't been in a rush to write about the swine flu, because no one needs a vegan saying "I told you so!" right now, and also because health officials have not been able to pinpoint the cause of the flu, i.e. they haven't said what all us veggies are probably thinking, that it started at a factory pig farming operation.

Within the counter-press however, connections are starting to be made. In Grist Online, Tom Philpott covers some evidence that the flu originated with a Smithfield owned pig farm.

An article yesterday in the Associated Press covers the same ground:

LA GLORIA, Mexico (AP) — Residents in this community of 3,000 believe their town is ground zero for the swine flu epidemic, even if health officials aren't saying so.

More than 450 residents say they're suffering from respiratory problems from contamination spread by pig waste at nearby breeding farms co-owned by a U.S. company. Officials with the company say they've found no sign of swine flu on its farms, and Mexican authorities haven't determined the outbreak's origin.

As far back as late March, roughly one-sixth of the residents here in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz began complaining of respiratory infections that they say can be traced to a farm that lies upwind five miles (8.5 kilometers) to the north, in the town of Xaltepec.

But Jose Luis Martinez, a 34-year-old resident of La Gloria, said he knew the minute he learned about the outbreak on the news and heard a description of the symptoms: fever, coughing, joint aches, severe headache and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.

"When we saw it on the television, we said to ourselves, 'This is what we had,'" he said Monday. "It all came from here. ... The symptoms they are suffering are the same that we had here."

If this new outbreak of the Swine Flu (it has existed before) did indeed start at this Smithfield Farm, do you think we'll actually learn a lesson from the 120 or so deaths that have occurred so far?

Probably not. There is no end to the evidence that factory farming is simply outrageous. I've written about this before (many times) and so has just about everyone else. But if hog farmers continue to win senate seats and bend legislation so that it protects environmentally catastrophic hog operations instead of penalizes them, what chance do we have to start making improvements?

P.S. - Smithfield is the company behind this God awful story from Rolling Stone a few years back.


Mary said...

Right on. And if we keep pumping livestock full of antibiotics, the AB resistant super-bug can't be far off. Scary stuff.

Veganosaurus said...

Perfectly put!! The 2 contrasting piggy pictures really drive home the point!

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