Pigs may fly

May 2, 2009 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

How are you faring with the swine flu? Bought your masks and stocked up on food just in case you get quarantined in your own home for a couple of weeks? Or are you like me – thinking that this pig business is bird flu revisited – a bit of a flap over nothing too serious. I’m not saying that one day we won’t get hit with some virulent pandemic but I don’t think the swine flu is going to be it. So Egypt might want to think twice before killing the country’s total pig population. In fact, latest reports suggest that WE gave the swine flu to the poor pigs back in 1918. There are also some interesting articles suggesting that the swine flu is a cover-up of possible real causes behind the deaths in Mexico.

So if you’re into conspiracy theories, I’ve found some good ones:

(1) The Indonesian Health Minister, Siti Fadilah Supari, has suggested that the swine flu virus could have been genetically engineered. She pointed the finger of blame at Western governments, accusing them of creating and spreading viruses in developing countries to boost pharmaceutical companies’ profits.

(2) The Democrats did it. Rep. Michele Bachmann, has been quoted as saying “I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.” Ah, I think she’ll find that it was under Gerald Ford, a Republican Prez, that swine flu broke out in the US in 1976. So don’t think we can blame the Democrats or Obama!

(3) TV reporters and doctors – TV news is suffering from a decline in audience and doctors, used to a lavish lifestyle, have to get through the recession. Take your pick: both are accused of releasing swine flu.

(4) Blame it on extraterrestrials.

(5) Blame it on the Baxter Corporation, which allegedly “inadvertently released” samples of the bird flu virus and manufactures a swine flu vaccine. Facing layoffs, the conspiracy theorists are suggesting that the company would make massive profits if swine flu became a pandemic.

But the one theory I think has legs is this one – the industrial pig production industry. The “swine flu” broke out in La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico where Granjas Carroll de México is based. Granjas Carroll de México is a factory farm for pigs and a subsidiary of the giant Smithfield Foods hog production facility. This is a mass production industry where poor pigs are born, injected with antibiotics so they will fatten faster, crammed into pig ‘concentration camps’ and then despatched for slaughtering. A pig’s lot is not a happy one when it comes to the hog production industry. This facility allegedly has “manure lagoons” – the dumping place for the waste from close to one million pigs. Since March 2009, residents of the area have been complaining about odours from the pig factory and respiratory problems caused by a polluted atmosphere and water supply.  Smithfield Foods has denied responsibility for any of this and blamed the cases on the “flu”.

So perhaps it’s more about the sanitary conditions of the pig factory and the surrounding area than a virulent virus that’s going to knock off more people around the world than the 1918 Spanish Flu. You can read more here and here.

Meanwhile, if you want to track the so-called swine flu, then you can use HealthMap.org, which tracks infectious diseases globally and My Map by Dr Henry Niman, who has an interest in infectious diseases and has been tracking suspected and confirmed swine flu cases.

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Entry filed under: Medicine. Tags: , , , , .

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