Despite years of warnings by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Humane Society of the U.S., new evidence indicates drugged-out animals on intensive confinement factory farms are incubating deadly viruses that could set off a deadly epidemic.
A dangerous and rapidly spreading strain of influenza, which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before, has killed over 150 people in Mexico, infecting thousands, and has spread to over a dozen countries, including the United States.
The World Health Organization warned early this week that the outbreak could reach global pandemic levels and raised the threat level to 4 (with 6 being the highest panedemic alert level). The last major global pandemic, the 1918 flu epidemic, killed 20-50 million people.
Despite company denials, a number of Mexican and
U.S. news outlets are pointing to Virginia-based
Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pig producer
($12 billion in annual sales), as a likely source
of the deadly outbreak. Smithfield sells pork and
operates massive hog-raising operations in 40 nations,
including Perote, Mexico, in the state of Veracruz,
where the outbreak originated. For months, local
residents and workers in Mexico have complained of
pollution, contamination, and illnesses from the
Smithfield plant. For years, Smithfield has been
criticized in the United States for polluting rural
communities, endangering public health, and exploiting
workers and farmers.
CAFOs, such as Smithfield, cram thousands of pigs
together inside unhygienic disease-ridden factory
farms, injecting pigs with powerful vaccines to keep
them alive, thereby putting enormous pressure on
swine viruses to evolve into more virulent pathogens
such as the H1NI virus. In the case of Smithfield’s
million pig operation in Veracruz, Mexico (as in
many regions in North America, Asia, and across the
world), massive poultry operations located nearby
thes pig CAFOs incubate bird viruses that can then
recombine with swine viruses, as well as human flu
viruses, endemic among typically exploited and unhealthy
pig and poultry workers.
Filthy and disease-ridden factory farms for pigs and chickens, maintained by exploited and often unhealthy farm workers, kept in operation only with massive injections of animal drugs, are a biological time bomb set to explode. Hopefully the current H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic will not kill millions of us. Unfortunately scientists warn us that it is not a question of if, but rather when, a future swine/bird/human virus will kill millions–unless we shut down the CAFOs and transform the current insane global industrial/factory farm agriculture system into a chemical and drug-free organic system, whereby local and regional organic farms produce healthy food for local and regional markets.
Please take action today.