Are the Pigs in Animal are Responsible for the Swine Flu?
May 2, 2009 11:05pm CST
The Leadership (the pigs) of the book Animal Farm were constantly trying to modernize the farm, cutting corners, saving money, etc. Can we blame this same type of mentality that the pork industry uses today for viruses such as the Swine Flu (H1N1)? It seems that pigs would be much more unlikely to create such a widespread outbreak of disease if they lived on a much simpler "happy" farm, like they did in the book before the pigs got greedy. Or at least if the weren't crammed in spaces like sardines. There seems to be a possible relation to the over-industrialised meat industry and viruses, avain flu, mad cow, swine flu... What do you think?
• United States
4 May 09
I think diseases certainly spread faster among the animals when they're crammed together. But if you've ever studied swine farming, at least in the United States, it is remarkable that there is so much caution taken to avoid disease. Disease has to be avoided precisely because the animals are so close together and the disease would spread so quickly. Different stages of production are often several miles apart, workers must be sprayed down and disinfected before they can start work, and workers from one section do not also work in the other sections of production typically. Not all farms are like that, but the segregated early weaning style approach is very popular. However, obviously I am a vegan for a reason as well and I don't think that the animals should be treated poorly just because it can still work like that and because people get more profit out of them. At school we have a small swine unit and occasionally the animals get sick there as well. The animals have far more space than they do in industry, but illnesses can still spread. And if any of the swine flus that these pigs have ever had managed to be a mutant form, then I guess the swine unit students could have gotten sick. And from there how quickly it spread might have depended on how social those students were.