Who are the real swine here?

Pro-agribusiness media are scrambling to keep the flu story from tainting factory farms. The runoff, effluent, off-gassing and general environmental degradation from this kind of industrial production of pork (or chicken or turkey or beef) is supposed by the businesses involved to carry no burden for dealing with the pollution produced.

Pro-agribusiness media are scrambling to keep the flu story from tainting factory farms. The runoff, effluent, off-gassing and general environmental degradation from this kind of industrial production of pork (or chicken or turkey or beef) is supposed by the businesses involved to carry no burden for dealing with the pollution produced. "New Scientist" has articles directly linking factory farming of pigs with evolution of new flu virus strains. Pig concentration camps are a great habitat for viral evolution it seems. For those who don't believe in evolution this whole affair is going to be beyond comprehension, I guess. Do intelligent design folks think their god really wanted this virus strain to kill potential right-wing voters willy-nilly? Has their god been holding this virus in reserve all these millenia? Can somebody get this god on his cell phone and let's ask...or maybe he or she'll hold a new conference to clarify....

For the straight info on animal concentration camps now producing much of America's daily protein intake, and some huge profits, check on the Pew Foundation report. It was right here in the U.S. that the old swine flu mutated around 1998 to become something new and more virulent. Specifically on American pig farms.

The WHO is changing its terminology to protect the innocent, pigs. So the World Health Organization is going with the scientific designation of this particular fun flu: "H1N1 influenza A." You won't see that in any media headlines.

Here's one newspaper headline that sums it up thusly: "Swine flu scare puts spotlight on factory farms." And even if the pigs and the concentration camp agri-conglomerates prove to be innocent of flu-mongering, the issue of pollution and animal cruelty will likely linger. You may not get sick from pork, but you might get sick to your stomach if you reflect on how the animals were treated and slaughtered before they fell beneath your steak knife. Not how you'd treat your dog, or even an ex-spouse. Ah, sure, I'll have another olive.

Meanwhile the National Pork Producers (NPPC) paint a rosy picture: current import and export probs will fade away and pork will once again flow across borders like heroin or hand-guns. Despite facts, says the NPPC, "Ukraine, St. Lucia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Honduras and Croatia have banned U.S. pork imports. Russia and China, which are significant markets for U.S. pork exports, and Kazakhstan have banned U.S. pork from certain states." NPPC is correct that no slab of pork has yet been proven to carry any virus or other disease if properly cooked.

As for the flu itself, stop blaming Mexico. Looks like, as with many new things both great and awful, this H1N1 [see, I can do that] strain originated in California. And here you can find a map of how the disease has spread so far. [poll id="124"]