Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fear, Misunderstanding of H1N1 Continues

Online campaigners seize on swine flu in pig farm petition

GENEVA (AFP) — Online campaigners delivered a petition with 225,000 signatures to the World Health Organisation Wednesday to protest at industrial farming methods they blame for increasing the risk of diseases like swine flu.

With the help of about 100 cardboard cutout pigs, the online citizen's movement Avaaz, or "voice", called on the WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to ensure factory farming meets public health standards.

The group's campaign was prompted by the controversy surrounding an industrial scale pig farm near the Mexican village of La Gloria, where some of the first cases of A(H1N1) influenza were reported.

Avaaz Campaign Director Ricken Patel said: "There have been warnings for years that these dirty warehouses crammed with pigs are increasing the risk of development and transmission of disease epidemics." Read More

Anti-animal agriculture groups continue to use the fear and misunderstanding over the H1N1 virus to attack livestock production. Even though there is absolutely no tie between any type of production system and this virus, these groups continue to link them. There is no excuse for this behavior and in my mind it’s the equivalent yelling fire in a crowded theatre. If your cause is reliant on using fear, rather than the truth to accomplish it’s goals, then probably you should find a new cause to advocate.


Bea Elliott said...

"Even though there is absolutely no tie between any type of production system and this virus"

Well that's an interesting notion considering the Amerrican Association of Swine Veterinarians has this on their home page:
"Veterinary Talking Points -- Basic talking points regarding the human H1N1 influenza outbreak."

Absolutely "no tie" huh (?)...

Troy Hadrick said...

I have read this before and nowhere does it say that a certain production system is responsible for this virus.

If you are trying to point out that the virus contained some genes from a virus that swine are susceptible too, no one has denied that. Just as no one has denied that it has human flu and avian flu genes as well.

So again, there is absolutely no tie between the H1N1 virus and a specific production system.

Bea Elliott said...

Perhaps as you say, there is no connection. Still, it's odd that vets are in the business of marketing:

The 3 key points you want to stress are:
1. Pork is safe to eat.

But I suppose agriculture vets wear many hats.

Troy Hadrick said...

Why wouldn't they want to promote the fact that pork is safe to eat. They are men and women that appreciate sound science, not sensationalism. That and the fact that their livelihoods depend on the livestock just as much as the farmer does. It's too bad that vets have to spend their time trying to educate consumers that pork is safe to eat because of activist groups that are spreading lies and misinformation. Their time could be much better spent tending to the health care needs of the livestock.

Bea Elliott said...

Sound science? I don't know... there are members of the AVA who also approve of ear cropping, tail docking, devocalization of dogs, and declawing of cats too. And those are certainly not practices of "science".

But once, the public wanted a comforting nod that it was okay to do such things... and that's exactly what the AMV gave them. I'd say their integrity has been compromised by a sundry of contradictions. The best among them are beginning to discredit many previously sanctioned procedures on animals. That they are a hold-out because of financial gain, is a sad reflection on their institution.

So no, I don't think that the AVA should be involved in marketing or further commodifying pigs or any animals. One would always have to question what their interests are...

Perhaps this would explain why the profession... of livestock veterinarians is in such need of new blood?