Monday, May 4, 2009

Swine flu and factory farming

Amazing how quickly swine flu became the top news story nationwide. Here and there I've spotted a few mentions of the huge industrial pig farms linked with the earliest cases in Mexico, but this hasn't figured very prominently.

On Scoop today there was a much more detailed account of these pig farms and their probable role in generating this new hybrid virus. We know that bird flu developed as a result of humans and birds living in very close proximity in Asia. Those were small family enterprises. The pig farms at the centre of the advent of swine flu are a very different story.

What caught my eye was this sentence: "a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms." Those flies certainly would have had plenty of waste to breed in: the manure lagoons around the LaGloria factory pig farm in the area where swine flu appears to have begun are the dumping grounds for the feces and urine waste from at least 950,000 pigs a year.

Meanwhile up in Canada, a Mexican worker has apparently transmitted swine flu to pigs...

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