Flu fear robs Cairo slum of its mainstay
Government culls swine raised by trash collectors
By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times June 7, 2009
CAIRO - A bent man walks with a sack of garbage draped over him, hiding all but his legs as he lopes up the hill toward women and children with quick hands and shrewd eyes for spotting things of value.
Trash trailing off him, he teeters around a corner and disappears into a parade of bent men. Sacks drop and flies gather in dark, humming whirls. Hands scrape plastic and rip cardboard, but a sound is missing.
The squeal is gone.
Pigs are not to blame for the so-called swine flu, which in any case has not been found in this hilltop slum, but trucks flanked by armed police have come anyway and hauled away the pigs. Raised by Coptic Christian garbage collectors who fattened them with trash and sold them to non-Muslim butchers, the animals were among the 300,000 pigs the government ordered corralled and culled. Their silence means that what scant prosperity there was amid these cliffs has vanished.
"How will I feed my children now? I've lost 70 percent of my income," says Ramzi Shawki, whose 120 pigs lived in a pen next to his house until they were driven away, slaughtered, and buried in trenches. "Our pigs are not sick. I can hold them in my arms. I'm 41 years old. I was born into collecting garbage and raising pigs. I've never been infected. But whoever doesn't give up their pigs gets arrested."
"The government gave me 2,500 pounds for my animals," about $450, says Shawki, "but they were worth 18,000 pounds." Read More
The panic that followed the outbreak of H1N1 was incredible. Making the matters worse were animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States who fanned the flames of this panic and tried to tell people that farmers were to blame for the problem and that eating pork was only ”probably” safe. Talk like this caused other countries to ban imports of our pork. Even worse, it led Egypt to the mass wasteful killing of 300,000 pigs and destroyed the livelihood of many people. If HSUS truly cared about animals you would think they wouldn’t contribute to the deaths of so many of the.