Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Swine flu by any other name is still swine flu

May 6, 2009  Care2 

Swine flu by any other name is still swine flu. But because pork producers are worried that swine flu will hurt U.S. pork sales, authorities are now referring to it as the "H1N1 virus." By removing the word "swine" from "swine flu, to help pork producers sell more sausage and bacon, officials are essentially letting the meat industry off the hook for fostering life-threatening diseases.

Swine flu is called "swine flu" for a reason, because it afflicts pigs. (It's a combination of pig, bird, and human influenzas.) Health experts have been quick to point out that people can't catch swine flu from eating "properly-prepared" pork, but raising pigs for pork is what puts people at risk for swine flu in the first place. People's desire to eat meat means that pigs, chickens, cows, and other animals must be mass-produced in crowded, waste-filled factory farms.

Swine flu flourishes on pig farms, where tens of thousands of pigs are packed in filthy, damp sheds that stink of urine and feces. Lawmakers in Veracruz, Mexico, where the swine flu outbreak is believed to have originated, have acknowledged that pig and chicken farms are breeding grounds for disease. Because animals are kept in such close proximity, and in such putrid conditions, the viruses that cause swine flu, bird flu and other illnesses often mutate into a pathogenic form and sicken humans.

The prevalence of animal-borne illnesses like swine flu and bird flu indicates that we must change our intensive farming practices, not just in Mexico or Asia, but in the U.S. as well. Between 30 and 50 percent of pigs in the U.S. have been infected with some strain of swine flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Dr. Michael Greger, the Humane Society of the United States' director of public health and animal agriculture, an H1N1 avian flu virus jumped from birds to humans in 1918, and killed around 50 million people. Humans passed the virus to pigs and it's become one of the most common causes of respiratory disease on North American pig farms. In 1998, a new pig/human virus was identified on a hog farm in North Carolina. Within a year, a hybrid of a human virus, a pig virus, and a bird virus had spread throughout the U.S. Some experts believe that the new swine flu viruses are on an evolutionary fast track, jumping between species at an unprecedented rate.

Another infection, MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus bacterium that kills more Americans than AIDS, is also linked to pig farms. A study by a University of Iowa epidemiologist found that 45 percent of the pig farmers and 49 percent of the hogs sampled carried MRSA. Researchers in the Netherlands determined that pig farmers there were 760 times more likely than the general population to carry MRSA. Scientists have also found MRSA in at least 68 percent of the pig farms in Belgian. In 37 percent of the cases, the farmer and the farmer's family carried pig MRSA, a variant of human MRSA.

If we don't want pigs, chickens, and cows to be our downfall, either through animal-borne diseases or through heart disease, diabetes, or cancer, it's time we revaluate the way we treat them -- and the way we eat. The fewer animals we raise, the fewer animal-borne diseases there will be. And since meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, everyone would be better off if they traded in their pork sausage, hamburgers, and chicken's legs for soy sausage, veggie burgers, and faux chicken.

Comment:  The Swine Flu, or the politically correct name, “H1N1 virus”, was a disaster waiting to happen.   

"The so-called 'swine flu' exploded because an environmental disaster simply moved (and with it, took jobs from US workers) to Mexico where environmental and worker safety laws, if they exist, are not enforced against powerful multinational corporations."
- The Narco News Bulletin

"In 1997 [
Smithfield] was the nation's seventh-largest pork producer; by 1999 it was the largest. Smithfield now kills one of every four pigs sold commercially in the United States."

- Rolling Stone Magazine

Smithfield Foods has been sued multiple times in the US for improperly managing their feces.  Locals have long complained about the stench from the “lagoon of feces.”

Our exploitation and use of animals as products has resulted in this latest outbreak.  As with other influenza viruses, swine flu viruses change constantly, and different variations emerge.  In addition to swine flu, pigs can also be infected by human and avian influenza. 

Factory farms, or animal concentration camps, are a living hell for all victims who must endure a short, miserable, and cruel existence before being slaughtered for our selfish consumption.  The silent suffering and death of millions of farm animals cannot be overstated.  GIVE THEM VOICE. 

The benefits of a plant-based diet are many.  For one’s own health, in the name of food-safety, the environment, and FOR THE ANIMALS, make the compassionate and ethical decision to GO VEGAN NOW!

Read more: Hallmark convicted of horrendous animal cruelty

January 15, 2014 Canadian pork industry trying to forestall deadly virus

Comment: Intensive, industrialised agriculture is at fault. Thanks to numerous undercover videos, like those of Mercy For Animals, we all know what the livestock industry has tried to keep hidden for so long. Media is finally beginning to report on what the powerful have tried to keep from the public.

January 25, 2009 CFIA confirms avian flu outbreak on B.C. farm

December 2, 2014 Two Fraser Valley farms quarantined after presence of H5 avian influenza confirmed

Comment: Factory farming or intensive farming is the culprit in the cause and spread of these diseases. Animals are treated as “production units” and denied their most basic needs, confined in filthy and inhumane conditions. It’s the bottom line that matters, nothing more. Under our country’s Health of Animals Act, financial compensation is given to farmers whose animals are destroyed by the CFIA. Government protects corporate interests and the powerful agricultural industry.  

Vested interests like to blame wild birds for the spread of avian flu say experts like Dr Leon Bennun. Michael Greger, MD writes; "In a sense, pandemics aren't born—they're made. "The bottom line is that humans have to think about how they treat their animals, how they farm them, and how they market them—basically the whole relationship between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom is coming under stress." Bird Flu: A Virus of our Own Hatching

December 3, 2014 Avian flu quarantine expands to 4 Fraser Valley farms

December 6, 2014 Fifth B.C. poultry farm under quarantine due to avian flu; 7 countries have now restricted imports

Comment: This is the fourth outbreak in the Fraser Valley since 2005. The public has become wise to industry propaganda and marketing schemes that present an idyllic life for the birds, due, in part to disturbing undercover video exposing inhumane living conditions and cruel treatment by employees. The reality is that the inherent practices of factory farming creates illness and pandemics.

Business practices don’t change unless the bottom line is affected. The farmers have only themselves to blame now that seven countries have placed varying restrictions on importing poultry meat or poultry products from B.C. or Canada. No doubt, more consumers will change their eating habits in light of this news, and increasingly move toward a compassionate lifestyle, shunning the unnecessary and unhealthy consumption of animal products.   

December 10, 2014 update: The number of farms under quarantine has now risen to eight, as the avian flu spreads. Roughly 155,000 birds either have been or will be destroyed. Singapore has also joined the ranks of other countries restricting or banning imports, with the likelihood of more to come.   

December 15, 2014  Officials have confirmed a Langley farm is the latest to hit by an avian flu outbreak that has already affected hundreds of thousands of birds in B.C. That pushes the total number of birds that are either dead or set to be euthanized to 233,800. (Source: CTV BC) And, you can be sure it’s not over yet.

December 18, 2014 11th farm hit with Avian flu, outbreak that started in Chilliwack enters U.S.

December 23, 2014 comment: The avian flu has now hit 12 farms and spread to Lynden, WA. The 12th farm in Aldergrove is a “non-commercial” one, consisting of ducks, chickens, geese and turkeys. A nearby resident said birds were being improperly disposed of.

At least one expert is concerned the highly pathogenic strain will spread throughout North America as wild birds begin winter migration.

January 8, 2015 Washington, Oregon activate bird flu response; 30 countries restrict U.S. poultry

April 13, 2015 CFIA: 29 farms quarantined due to avian flu outbreak near Woodstock

Comment: Animal agriculture is fundamentally inhumane and this exemplifies the realities of the industry. Suffering and death is simply business. It’s an affront to humanity and needs to end. We all have a choice not to participate in such atrocities and injustices – make the smart choice today, go vegan.

April 21, 2015 Bird flu confirmed at Iowa farm with 5.3 million chickens

Related: Alarm raised over factory farming in Fraser Valley; typical farm audit questions

Undercover video by MFA reveals severe abuse of dairy cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales; inherent wrongs exposed throughout industry; flagrant abuse at Quebec veal farm; mad cow disease AB; countries ban Cdn beef due to BSE

Pet cat in U.S. catches swine flu 

November 4, 2009 Reuters

WASHINGTON - A cat in Iowa has tested positive for H1N1 swine flu, the first time a cat has been diagnosed with the new pandemic strain, the American Veterinary Medical Association said Wednesday.

The 13-year-old cat apparently caught the virus from one of the people living in the house, the group said in a statement. It has recovered and does not appear to have infected anyone or anything else.

Pigs are the original source of the H1N1 virus and it has been found in several herds, as well as in a pet ferret. Ferrets are especially susceptible to human influenza viruses.

"Two of the three members of the family that owns the pet had suffered from influenza-like illness before the cat became ill," Iowa Department of Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Ann Garvey said in a statement. "This is not completely unexpected, as other strains of influenza have been found in cats in the past." Both the cat and its owners have recovered from their illnesses.

The AVMA has a website on H1N1 illnesses in U.S. animals at http://www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/new_virus/. Dogs and horses also can catch various influenza strains, although none have so far been diagnosed with H1N1. "Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren't showing signs of illness," said Dr. David Schmitt, state veterinarian for Iowa.

The new H1N1 passes easily from person to person and has infected millions globally since March, killing at least 5,000 people whose infections have been documented.