Posts Tagged ‘swine flu’

Keep Calling it Swine Flu

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment


The US Agriculture Secretary is asking the media to stop calling the H1N1 virus “Swine Flu.” He correctly complains that you can’t get the virus from eating pork, and is pegging the current struggle of pig farmers to that misleading association. I however, believe we should keep calling it Swine Flu.

Why? Well, first of all, eff the pig farmers. I hope they all go out of business. Does that make me un-American or something? I don’t think so. They may be great people; real salt-of-the-earth common sense folk. But their industry is absolutely horrific, and (if you read the article linked to above), apparently unprofitable anyway, even before Swine Flu broke out in 2009. Blaming the media for saying “Swine Flu” is mixing up causation with correlation; we are in a recession! Pork sales are probably down because people are buying less pork because they are broke! OK, so maybe Swine Flu made it a bit worse, but it’s not a mistake to avoid pork.

The 2009 Swine Flu breakout came from pigs in pig farms. That is how it got its name. No, you can’t get it from eating pork. But it does make sense to stop buying pork if you care about Swine Flu. The conditions at pig-farming operations create an ideal petri dish for developing new viruses like this. From TIME magazine:

A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that dense factory farms could increase the risk for the spread of new viruses, including the flu. And in the case of H1N1, the farming of domestic animals, like pigs and poultry, could have bred the virus.

These pigs  are packed into little pens snout-to-chopped-off-tail and give each other every little  cold that one of them catches. Would the CDC advise us to congregate, standing-room-only style, in tiny rooms face-to-face if some of the people in the room had a potentially dangerous virus? So why does it make sense to do this with biologically similar pigs? It doesn’t, and it is only one of the many many reasons that factory farming needs to go away.

So join me in preventing future SWINE FLU-like epidemics and stop supporting factory-farmed meat. All you have to do is call Swine Flu by its given name, and if you really care, go vegan baby.