Is Agri-biz at the root of swine flu?
As worries of an international flu pandemic spread around the glob, the world health organisation WHO is yet to confirm the source of the outbreak. However evidence is mounting that the virus originate from an industrial pig farm in central Mexican state of Veracruz.
Mexican media have been reporting on a breakout of a mysterious respiratory infection as early as April 6th. The national daily La Jornada wrote that the outbreak has infected more then 300 residence of the town of La Gloria. The article quoted local and national authorities tracing the virus to a massive pig’s shit lagoon at a factory farm operated by ‘Granjas Carroll de Mexico’, which is 50 percent owned by Virginia-based ‘Smithfield Foods, Inc.’- the world larger producer of pork. Smithfield maintains that none of it’s employees nor pigs have shown any signs of infection.
The earliest identified victim of the H1N1 was a four-year-old boy, Edgar Hernandez, who lives next to the factory farm in question. The farm is one of many factory farms that set up shop in Mexico after NAFTA rearranged the laws to make such moves more profitable. Many experts have been warning for years about the potential for a swine flu pandemic to arise out of the conditions present in industrial pig farms.
Local health officials and Federal Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova downplayed claims that the swine flu epidemic could have started in la Gloria, noting that of 30 mucous samples taken from victims of respiratory diseases there, only one – that of 4-year-old Edgar Hernandez – came back positive. The boy later recovered. Cordova insisted the rest of the community had suffered from a common influenza.
He also said the government had no model of the H1N1 virus – which has features of avian, pig and human viruses – to base their studies on.