2009-09-25

 
 
 
(Excerpted from the original article:)

Defending the Factory Farm

Experts have long warned that “industrial farm animal production” (IFAP) leads to potentially serious human health impacts. A tragically prophetic study done by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production of 2008 concludes, “… one of the most serious unintended consequences of industrial food animal production is the growing public health threat of these types of facilities. In addition to the contribution of IFAP to the major threat of antimicrobial resistance, IFAP facilities can be harmful to workers, neighbors, and even those living far from the facilities through air and water pollution, and via the spread of disease.”

The study continues, “Workers in and neighbors of IFAP facilities experience high levels of respiratory problems, including asthma. In addition, workers can serve as a bridging population, transmitting animal-borne diseases to a wider population.”

As residents of La Gloria protested the stench and pointed to the hog farm as the source of their sickness, Mexican authorities went out of their way to divert suspicions that Smithfield’s Carroll Farms had anything to do with the unusual illnesses being reported. Although state health officials sprayed the village of La Gloria to kill off swarms of flies coming from the company’s nearby open-pit manure lagoons, explanations lit on anything but the hog farm.

A Carroll Farms representative called the fact that the first swine flu case was located within a few miles of the pig farm “an unfortunate coincidence.” Reportedly, Carroll Farms sent samples from its herd for testing at some point soon after the outbreak and both the company itself and the Mexican government absolved Smithfield pigs from any role in the epidemic.

To reinforce the “coincidence” thesis, international health authorities began a concerted effort to hide the pig. In fact, there is no dispute in the scientific evidence that the virus got its start on a hog farm.

Citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Scientific American points out a starting point that the politicians preferred to ignore: “What is clear thanks to the hard work of virologists is that this particular strain of flu got its genetic start on U.S. hog farms back in the 1990s.” READ MORE

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