Huffington Post has a great comprehensive post on the issue of factory farming, conditions of the pigs, and possible transference of the swine flu to humans. I am not a vegetarian, not even close, but it is important that people understand the facts behind factory farming. You can still consume meat products, but in a much healthier and humane way. I am a big proponent of supporting the small scale farmer!
Large-scale swine producers in Mexico deny that their industry is the source of the deadly new influenza strain, saying the animals are all healthy, and that it is scientifically “not possible” for hogs to infect people with the illness. But lawmakers in the eastern state of Veracruz are now charging that large-scale hog and poultry operations are “breeding grounds” of infection that are making people sick and fueling the pandemic.
On Sunday, the state government of Veracruz confirmed swine influenza in a five-year-old girl in the village of La Gloria, located near a massive US-owned hog facility. The bodies of two other village children who died in February and March will be exhumed and tested for signs of the illness, local media reports said.
And in the western state of Guerrero, 500 pigs were just killed after becoming ill with swine flu.
This is only one site where factory farming occurs, at another site, residents had been complaining for some time.
According to an April 5 article in La Jornada newspaper, “Clouds of flies emanate from the lagoons where Granjas Carroll discharges the fecal waste from its hog barns – as well as air pollution that has already caused an epidemic of respiratory infections in the town.”
More than 400 people had already been treated for respiratory infections, and more than 60 percent of the town’s 3,000 residents had reported getting sick, the paper said. State officials disputed that claim, and said the illnesses were caused by cold weather and dust in the air.
The problems began in early March, when many neighbors of the hog CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) became sick with colds and flu that quickly turned into lung infections, causing local health officials to impose a “sanitary cordon” around the area and begin a mass program of vaccination and home fumigation.
“According to state agents of the Mexican Social Security Institute, the vector of this outbreak are the clouds of flies that come out of the hog barns, and the waste lagoons into which the Mexican-US company spews tons of excrement,” La Jornada reported. “Even so, state and federal authorities paid no attention to the residents, until today.”
If you believe this kind of unsanitary and inhumane treatment of pigs only happens in Mexico, click here to see a United States pig farm/factory farm. Let me warn you, very strongly, what you are about to watch is extremely disturbing.
Treating animals we eat for consumption in a humanely isn’t just an ethical and moral imperative, it is a health issue and an environmental necessity! If you want to see a more humane way to raise pigs, click here.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Mexico, about halfway between Mexico City and Acapulco in the town of Cocula, Guerrero, health officials ordered the destruction of 500 pigs infected with swine flu, local newspapers reported. One hundred of the animals fell sick at the Rancho La Joya operation and were sacrificed last Wednesday. On Thursday, 400 more infected pigs were killed.
There is no proof that this illness emerged on a Mexican hog factory farm, or in Mexico, or even in hogs. But we do know that Mexican pigs with swine flu are being destroyed. And we know that Mexican lawmakers think that CAFOs are making people sick.