People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have yet another indictment to make against factory farming; Swine Flu or H1N1 virus.
PETA will be posting a billboard: Meat Kills: Go Vegetarianin San Antonio, TX and then listing the number of diseases related to eating the American Diet, which is high in meat. In their billboard they will be including the Swine Flu which is being investigated as possibly linked to a Smithfield Factory Hog Farm in La Gloria, Mexico where the now pandemic Swine Flu originated.
Swine Flu is not spread through eating pork but is spread like other flus; through sneezing, coughing, and handshaking with contaminated hands. Covering one’s mouth with a tissue or handkerchief when sneezing and coughing and frequent soap hand washing is recommended.
Mexican Health Authorities are investigating the possibility that the factory farm in La Gloria could be the source of the outbreak. Residents have been complaining of a high incidence of respiratory illnesses since February from inhaling the fecal dust from the factory farm.
This would not be the first time that Factory Hog Farm has been found to be the source of a Swine Flu outbreak and even an outbreak with the triple virus hybrid of swine, avian, and human virus. In 1998, a North Carolina Factory Farm was the epicenter for an outbreak of Swine Flu. That year, the hog population hit ten million and there were fewer hog farms in the state than there were six years before. The overcrowding conditions made flu ripe for epidemic.
It is interesting that Obama stopped using the word Swine Flu and began using the technical term, H1Ni virus. It seems that the Pork lobbyists felt that using the word swine would reduce the consumption of their product. Several countries have banned the import of Pork from the US for allegedly this fear. Regardless if we call it Swine Flu or H1N1, we need to begin looking at the larger ramifications of factory farming not only for the ethical treatment of the animals that we confine there, but also for the ramifications on the environment and as possible vectors for disease. There are better options out there that have worked well not only for the animals but for the global environment as well. It’s time we begin to investigate how to honor the bounty of our earth in healthful ways. Blessings,