Saturday, May 30, 2009

H1N1 Origins

NewScientist:
No-one yet knows whether swine flu will become a global pandemic, but it is becoming clear where it came from - most likely a giant pig factory farm run by an American multinational corporation in Veracruz, Mexico.

Smithfield Corporation, the largest pig producer in the world whose farm is being fingered as the source of the H1N1 outbreak, denies any connection between their pigs and the flu and big agrobusiness worldwide pays huge sums of money for research to argue that biosafety is ensured in industrial hog production.

But the WHO has been saying for years that 'a new pandemic is inevitable' and experts from the European Commission and the FAO have cautioned that the rapid move from small holdings to industrial pig production is in fact increasing the risk of development and transmission of disease epidemics. The CDC warns that scientists still do not know the extent that infectious compounds produced in factory farms affect human health.

Studies abound of the horrific conditions endured by pigs in concentrated large-scale operations, and the devastating economic impact on small farmer communities of bloated large-scale operations. Smithfield itself has already been fined $12.6m and is currently under another federal investigation in the US for toxic environmental damage from pig excrement lakes.

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