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The Swine Flu Crisis Lays Bare the Meat Industry's Monstrous Power

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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:15 AM
Original message
The Swine Flu Crisis Lays Bare the Meat Industry's Monstrous Power

http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/138798/the_swine... /


Animal husbandry now more closely resembles the petrochemical industry than the happy family farm.


-long snip-

Perhaps it is not surprising that Mexico lacks both capacity and political will to monitor livestock diseases, but the situation is hardly better north of the border, where surveillance is a failed patchwork of state jurisdictions, and corporate livestock producers treat health regulations with the same contempt with which they deal with workers and animals. Similarly, a decade of urgent warnings by scientists has failed to ensure the transfer of sophisticated viral assay technology to the countries in the direct path of likely pandemics. Mexico has world-famous disease experts, but it had to send swabs to a Winnipeg lab in order to ID the strain's genome. Almost a week was lost as a consequence.

But no one was less alert than the disease controllers in Atlanta. According to the Washington Post, the CDC did not learn about the outbreak until six days after Mexico had begun to impose emergency measures. There should be no excuses. The paradox of this swine flu panic is that, while totally unexpected, it was accurately predicted. Six years ago, Science dedicated a major story to evidence that "after years of stability, the North American swine flu virus has jumped onto an evolutionary fasttrack."

-snip-

Any amelioration of this new pathogen ecology would have to confront the monstrous power of livestock conglomerates such as Smithfield Farms (pork and beef) and Tyson (chickens). The commission reported systemic obstruction of their investigation by corporations, including blatant threats to withhold funding from cooperative researchers .

This is a highly globalised industry with global political clout. Just as Bangkok-based chicken giant Charoen Pokphand was able to suppress enquiries into its role in the spread of bird flu in southeast Asia, so it is likely that the forensic epidemiology of the swine flu outbreak will pound its head against the corporate stonewall of the pork industry.

-snip-

. . . . the stranglehold of big pharma over lifeline medicines, and the planetary catastrophe of industrialised and ecologically unhinged livestock production.
----------------------------



ecologically unhinged livestock production
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. The virus has yet to even be found in swine - right?
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Pfft. Like that matters.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. That's why they dubbed it H1N1
It is transmitted between humans, not animal to human. I'm not sure how it got named Swine Flu. Maybe it closely resembled the last Swine flu. There is no known risk of humans contracting the virus from eating pork.
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OHDEM Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. It's called Swine Flu because it's 2 parts swine flu...
1 part human flu and 1 part avion flu. A doc on Bill Maher was explaining it last night. One of the reasons the CDC and WHO are concerned is that they've never seen influenza combine in that way. No, you can't get it from eating pork, but it probably originated in a factory farm and was passed to a person in Mexico starting this whole mess. They're trying to find the origin, but it's not that easy. It's quite possible, the first animals infected might be floating in one of those lagoons of feces right now.

I'll see if I can find the video from Bill Maher.
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Uben Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
20. Thanks
I heard something to that effect but could not recall it exactly. I'm guilty of not catching names or even remembering which news channels I hear info from, but I do try to pass on what I hear as accurately as I can. I never listen to Fox News, so I am 100% certain none of my info comes from there. I keep the TV on CNN or MSNBC all day (I am retired).

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Jim Pivonka Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. It's NOT called swine flu, it is called 2009 H1N1 flu n/t
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. This is correct. That doesn't, however, mean it didn't arise in a single
solitary pig which is now gone. And swine get so many varieties of swine flu, this one could squeak by unnoticed for a time.

It DOES contain components of swine flu virus along with a little human and avian flus. It is a hybrid. These things happen, especially inside the perfect virus mixing vats that pig bodies are.
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5X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. "swine flu", the original, was found in pigs.
this virus has two genes that it shares with the original swine flu but
is not found in pigs at this time.

There is some historical cause for calling it swine flu tho h1n1 is better
just to distinguish this version.

More info here:
<http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/swineflu_you.htm >
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Jim Pivonka Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
25. The CDC forgot to mention that another H1N1 flu is endemic in humans since 1977!
CDC's writup is misleading on that count, at least. (Thanks for the link, BTW.)

In 1977 an H1N1 flue "reappeared" in the human population out of a laboratory freezer. It is still endemic in the population. However it is a different H1N1 strain than this virus; even the genes coding for H1 and N1 are different. And it is less lethal than the other human flu which is endemic, an H3N2 flu.

This 2009 H1N1 flu is a new strain, never before seen, and still never seen in pigs.

The "original" swine flu was called that only because the people studying flu virus found an H1N1 virus in swine. There may be nothing inherently "swine" about it; it has apparently been endemic in humans for a long time. For instance, the 1918 flu was an H1N1 flu - and beyong that it is believed that flu outbreaks decades earlier were H1N1 outbreaks, which conferred some immunity on older people during the 1918 outbreak.

You are correct in saying that it's better to use terms which distinguish between virus strains, rather than linking them to dubiously theorized host animals. And even H1N1 is not good enough, because there are multiple H1N1 flus around, and multiple H1N1 human flus - 1918, 1977, and now 2009 versions.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
3. the meat industry is horrific.
factory farming is vile.
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Big Blue Marble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
5. What is it going to take for so many DU'ers to see that meat is political not personal?
Every time the issues around meat and meat production come up
on this board, posters go all personal and talk about how great meat
is for them. As if you can separate the abject degradation to the environment,
the suffering of the animals, the dangers to our use of antibiotics, the contribution
to global warming, and the health hazards of this horrible industry from the
act of consuming a hamburger.



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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. and meat lobby agents are here on DU


nt
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Oh, poppycock. Name one. What I see here are people who like
to eat meat and don't want to be dictated to by fanatic vegans.
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Big Blue Marble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. And do not think about the what agribusiness is doing to us at all levels
Edited on Sat May-02-09 11:45 AM by Big Blue Marble
of our society. They would rather stay in denial and "enjoy"
their steaks, burgers, and bacon.

Actually, having read these "meaty" threads on DU for four years,
I can say with confidence that it is the meat eaters who are the
fanatics.

And I am not a meat eater, vegan or fanatic.
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OHDEM Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Agreed.
It's been obvious for years that these companies need to be much more heavily regulated. This is our food supply we're talking about! Maybe this disease will wake some people up. But then, I hardly see this discussed...other than here.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. the subject isn't eating meat. the subject is the shit left behind by said meat


vast pools of shit. shit filled with big pharma inventions.
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Big Blue Marble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Yes the final product of this process is the problem.
The shit, the drugs, the horrible confinement and treatment of the animals, and
the dangers to the environment make it possible for you to have cheap eats.

If you are going to eat meat and use dairy, make it organic.
That is a good start. Every time you eat one bite of meat
that comes form this horrific process, you just endorsed
the problem.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
22. Big time. And they're calling in the A-Team....
At first the industry support was crude and obvious. But now that scientists are publishing articles that point this pandemic right at the industrial hog farms, the A-Team has been hired.
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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
14. I highly recommend the book "Mad Cowboy" by Howard Lyman.
He gives a history of what animal husbandry used to be like - when his grandfather & father were in the business - & what it's like now & why he decided to get out of it. The transformation of the industry is shocking. The only ethical discussion he engages in is in regards to how we treat the animals - confining them in horrid conditions, feeding them product that is contrary to their nature, pumping them full of antibiotics, that type of thing. He shows out how our treatment of them is detrimental to ourselves, as well.

There is a chapter titled "Bovine Planet" where he discusses the horrible impact that grazing has on our environment. His final sentence in that chapter is a chilling portent. The last sentence in this article is chilling too. Thanks for posting.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. Seconded.
This book is a great read, whatever your diet happens to be.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
16. There is of course, the option of not eating it.
Not making any suggestions, just pointing that out.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. you can't eat it without the shit pools
nt
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. Hush up, fanatic vegan.
Your non-suggestion reveals your agenda!
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OHDEM Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
19. This article has some good info...
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE53S6VD200...

* Pigs can catch human and avian or bird flu. When flu viruses from different species infect pigs, they can mix inside the pig and new, mixed viruses can emerge.
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Jim Pivonka Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
23. It is not "swine flu" it is human 2009 H1N1 flu. It's never been seen in pigs
It's never been seen in pigs, or in pork products.

It is fully human, though it may eventually be transmitted to pigs.

It is a recombinant virus involving the combination and reassortment of genes from 4 virus strains - one an avian strain, one a human strain, one a swine strain and one a new strain, apparently of asian swine origin.

(There are a total of 8 genes in the flu virus, I have not yet found a listing of which of the 8 come from which strain. Two have come from the Asian strain, the other six may be 2 each or 4-1-1, or any other combination adding to 6.)

The first three have, according to report from one research group, been seen in combination before. This is in an H1N1 virus infecting pigs for more than 10 years, which has, so far as is reported, never infected humans. It is believed to have originated in the US, in large pork production factory farms in one of the Carolinas.

This H1N1 flu is new, has never been seen in pigs and is NOT a swine flu. It is a human flu.

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