Government officials with ties to animal agribusiness, like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (now secretary of Agriculture), have encouraged people to continue to consume pig flesh.
According to Meatingplace.com, an industry Web site, Grassley posted the following message on Twitter: "U can't get swine flu from eating pork. Eatup. Regardless of epidemic."
Never mind, of course, that this disease originated in factory farms, where tens of thousands of pigs are confined, creating a breeding ground for disease. Animal exploiters have long recognized that the conditions in factory farms are ripe for disease. That's why they feed the animals antibiotics, even before they become ill.
While you may not be able to contract swine flu from eating pig flesh, you _are_ contributing to the outbreak by continuing to do so. Your money supports corporations that pollute the air and water and have no regard for consumers', nearby residents or employees' health.
Meatingplace.com is also disparaging bloggers. (You'll need to register to gain access to the site.}
Others [bloggers], however, are picking up and repeating a story that appeared in a Mexican newspaper near the town where the outbreak seems to have started, in which residents (not the authorities) blame a nearby pig production facility.The pro-agribusiness site wants to ignore that Mexican health officials have, indeed, linked the swine-flu outbreak to a factory farm, owned by U.S.-based Smithfield.
Pig-flesh producers are also keen on getting the public to refer to swine flu as "North American influenza."
The World Animal Health Organization has suggested that since this so called "swine flu" originated in North America, the name should be changed to reflect its origin rather than the poor pigs.The poor pigs?! The feelings of pigs have nothing to do with it. Animal producers don't want a disease linked to the animal flesh they are trying to sell.
Shares of stock in companies that sell pig flesh dropped at the opening of the day Monday, after news of the swine flu outbreak broke over the weekend.
Unfortunately, companies that sell chicken flesh could profit from swine flu because people may switch from pork to chicken. I heard some restaurants have pulled pork from their menus.
- Smithfield was trading at about $9, down nearly 13 percent from its close on Friday.
- Hormel's price was about $30 per share, down about 2 percent from its Friday close.
- Tyson Foods was priced at about $10, down almost 9 percent from its Friday close.
- JBS, which operates three pork processing plants in the U.S., saw its stock drop as much as 9.9 percent at one point, then traded down 7.2 percent to 6.45 reais in late morning trade on the Brazilian Bovespa exchange.
A survey of supermarket meat departments indicated that consumers already are asking about a virus-pork connection, and "the fear generated by a disease named after hogs cannot be good for pork consumption."(Photo courtesy of the BBC.)