[permaculture] Swine flu linked to Va based Smithfield foods

Mathew Waehner waehner at gmail.com
Sat May 2 14:29:16 EDT 2009

I never thought I would be defending Smithfield foods, but keeping animals
in monoculture somewhat reduces the risk of new hybrid strains of influenza.

Pandemics usually result when flu viruses from different species hybridize
in the same cell.  The current strain is said to by a hybrid of bird, human,
and swine flu.  Confinement agriculture isolates pigs from birds, removing
one chance of hybridization.  Crucially, it also isolates poultry from
migratory fowl, who spread the newest bird flu genes across the planet.

Flu pandemics happen regularly, and most of the new viruses appear to have
arisen in the sustainable polycultures of Asia.

Once a virus does enter a confinement animal system, it will spread like
fire through gunpowder, exposing the human workers to a high level of virus,
which gives viruses that aren't well adapted to human hosts plenty of
chances to infect humans.

The quote in the original article about factory farms breeding antibiotic
resistant bacteria is true, and it is a compelling reason to stop supporting
that toxic system.  But it is a red herring in a debate about influenza.

On Sat, May 2, 2009 at 12:08 PM, Toby Hemenway <toby at patternliteracy.com>wrote:

> Interesting that I keep hearing the media say, as in the article Keith
> posted . . .
> > A dangerous and rapidly spreading
> > strain of influenza . . . has killed over
> > 150 people in Mexico,
> while the World Health Organization website says, as of May 1,
> http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_05_01/en/index.html
> Country     Cases     Deaths
>  Mexico      156        9
> Sounds like the fearmongers are confusing total cases with deaths.
> Be afraid, be very afraid.
> Fear makes us compliant.
> Toby
> http://patternliteracy.com
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