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Is there a link between factory farming and the current outbreak of flu?

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 04:49 AM
Original message
Is there a link between factory farming and the current outbreak of flu?
This makes much more sense to me than the whacky and wild suggestions that Donald Rumsfeld is behind it line his pockets. And I suspect that we'll be seing much more on this in the coming days. Here are a couple of interesting articles- though neither are by scientists with specialized knowledge.

Swine-flu outbreak linked to Smithfield factory farms 3
Posted 11:06 AM on 25 Apr 2009
by Tom Philpott

One flu east, one flu westThe outbreak of a new flu straina nasty mash-up of swine, avian, and human viruseshas infected 1000 people in Mexico and the U.S., killing 68. The World Health Organization warned Saturday that the outbreak could reach global pandemic levels.

Is Smithfield Foods, the worlds largest pork packer and hog producer, linked to the outbreak? Smithfield operates massive hog-raising operations Perote, Mexico, in the state of Vera Cruz, where the outbreak originated. The operations, grouped under a Smithfield subsidiary called Granjas Carrol, raise 950,000 hogs per year, according to the company Web sitea level nearly equal to Smithfields total U.S. hog production.

On Friday, the U.S. disease-tracking blog Biosurveillance published a timeline of the outbreak containing this nugget, dated April 6 (major tip of the hat to Paula Hay, who alerted me to the Smithfield link on the Comfood listserv and has written about it on her blog, Peak Oil Entrepreneur):

Residents believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to flu. However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms. It was unclear whether health officials had identified a suspected pathogen responsible for this outbreak.
<snip>
http://www.grist.org/article/2009-04-25-swine-flu-smithfield/



Posted April 25, 2009 | 06:39 PM (EST)

Swine Flu Outbreak -- Nature Biting Back at Industrial Animal Production?

Officials from the CDC and USDA will likely arrive in Mexico soon to help investigate the deadly new influenza virus that managed to jump from pigs to people in a previously unseen mutated form that can readily spread among humans.

One of the first things they will want to look at are the hundreds of industrial-scale hog facilities that have sprung up around Mexico in recent years, and the thousands of people employed inside the crowded, pathogen-filled confinement buildings and processing plants.

Industry calls these massive compounds "confined animal feeding operations," or CAFOs (KAY-fohs), though most people know them simply as "factory farms." You have seen them before while flying: Long white buildings lined up in tightly packed rows of three, four or more. Within each confinement, thousands of pigs are restricted to indoor pens and grain-fed for market, while breeding sows are kept in small metal crates where they spend most of their lives pregnant or nursing piglets.

In the last several years, U.S. hog conglomerates have opened giant swine CAFOs south of the border, including dozens around Mexico City in the neighboring states of Mexico and Puebla. Smithfield Foods also reportedly operates a huge swine facility in the State of Veracruz, where the current outbreak may have originated. Many of these CAFOs raise tens of thousands of pigs at a time. Cheaper labor costs and a desire to enter the Latin American market are drawing more industrialized agriculture to Mexico all the time, wiping out smaller, traditional farms, which now account for only a small portion of swine production in Mexico.

<snip>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/swine-flu-outbreak----nat_b_191408.html
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BigBearJohn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It makes total sense to me.
I hope this is followed up on by scientists.

Thanks, Cali.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:11 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. yes, I'm struck by how much sense this makes too.
I'm certain that scientists will follow up on it.
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lazer47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. Look deeper, when we began to Genetically Engineer food
we began to Genetically Engineer other things also, by lowering our immune systems and resistance to disease that it took millions of years to achieve
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izzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
3. I think it is more to do in how food is checked.
Once the country pop, grows and we bring in more food from out side and cut down the people who are looking at the food this style stuff goes on. It is almost like the banking. New ways of doing things and the people who watch for errors do not do their jobs. The dept. lets things go by. Congress will not seem to do its job any more with food come into country, or food here, or banks, or any thing that seems to put any rules on this so called free capitalism. Capital having all the say with out rules is crazy.
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:38 AM
Response to Original message
4. Factory farms
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 05:42 AM by undergroundpanther
rending plants, alot of industrial ways of dealing with animals and dead flesh(pigs,chickens, add in poor people in crowded unsanitary conditions) This is a recipe for conditions ripe for disease spreading.
http://www.idausa.org/facts/factoryfarmfacts.html
http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/food/foodborne_illness/

The air inside hog factories is so polluted with dust, dander and noxious gases from the animals' waste that workers who are exposed for just a few hours per day are at high risk for bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, organic dust toxic syndrome (ODTS) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Unlike these workers, the pigs have no escape from this toxic air, and roughly half of all pigs that die between weaning and slaughter succumb to respiratory disease.

Poor air quality, extreme close-quarters confinement and unsanitary living conditions combine to make diseases such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), swine influenza virus (SIV) and salmonellosis a serious threat to animal welfare.

In addition to their direct effects on animal health, several viruses are known to suppress pigs' immune systems, leading to greater risk from opportunistic bacteria which further degrade health and result in on-farm deaths. These viral infections frequently go undiagnosed because they are masked by the overlying bacterial disease and testing is expensive.

http://www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/factoryfarming/pork/


The WHO recently described the conditions which are the origin of Bird Flu. In an interview with a China media in early 2004, before the present Washington alarm over Bird Flu pandemic dangers, the Geneva health organization described the conditions under which the Bird Flu virus would spread. The WHO said H5N1 was largely transmitted through bird droppings and uncooked meat.

When a contaminated chicken makes an excrement the H5N1 strain of avian influenza circulates in the air and is carried by the wind, according to the WHO findings. Piled one on top of the other in cramped cages, the birds easily pass the disease on with their dirty droppings, the WHO said, noting that chicken breeders also risked inhaling the bug and got infected easier.

On the other hand, it was virtually impossible to catch bird flu by eating cooked meat that is infected, said WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib. The cooking kills the virus, Chaib said, citing WHO experts.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=1333
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Algorem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:02 AM
Response to Original message
5. that ham's coming back and biting us on the ass
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 07:06 AM by Algorem
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:04 AM
Response to Original message
6. My children, to treat another animal's life like it is worthless
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 07:04 AM by originalpckelly
Is to invite the worthlessness of your own
If only we could all know this
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:07 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. agree. factory farms are obscenely cruel.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. My children, to think one can produce life in tyranny
is to invite the tyranny in your life
If only we could end it
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #8
22. That must have been some good shit you had Saturday night cause
it still hasn't worn off Sunday morning.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. well said! nt
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I may be able to say things well
But you will never hear them
If only you could
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:27 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. okay, whatever you say.
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 07:29 AM by Mari333
'Is to invite the worthlessness of your own
If only we could all know this'

thats what you said, I heard it. I agreed. how do you reckon I didnt hear it. ?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. put down the bottle or the pipe or whatever it is.
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 08:40 AM by cali
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lazer47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Did you stop taking your medication again???
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1776Forever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. Again we see that greed kills! It is so disturbing to read this but not unexpected.
And the poor workers in Mexico are not to blame! It is those who would actually kill their own mothers to make a buck! Reminds me of Rumsfeld and aspartame. Same ole' same ole'!

If you want to learn more about Rummy and his poison go here:

http://www.newswithviews.com/NWVexclusive/exclusive15.htm

:argh:
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
14. Well, I don't see how speculation over-rules fact...
A factory farm connection at this point is just that... Speculation.

Whereas, the fact is: Donald Rumsfeld has a large stake in Tamiflu.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/tamiflu.asp

I'll continue to choose fact over speculation... But, speculation seems to be the mode-du-jour at The New DU.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. um, so what if Rumsfeld has a stake in tamiflu
it's beyond absurd to believe that the outbreak of this flu has anything to do with Rumsfeld. In order to believe that nonsense, one would have to believe that Rumsfeld controls Mexico as well as the U.S., and that the CDC and other organzations are either pig ignorant or fronting for him. The connection between this outbreak and factory farming can be scientifically investigated.

Your claim that you're choosing fact over fiction holds no water.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. That is an example of a fact.
Edited on Sun Apr-26-09 09:01 AM by Hugin
Which the factory farming story at the top lacks... It is agenda driven speculation.

That is how a case is built one fact upon another.

Oh, and did I say anywhere in my post that Donald Rumsfeld had anything to do with this Swine Flu outbreak? No, I did not.

But, I was following his guidance to, "Follow the money."

Edit: Fix typo.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. So Donald Rumsfeld caused the swine flu?
:tinfoilhat:
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. he's the man! the overlord of all he sees.
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #17
21. Please quote out where I wrote that...
I seem to be missing where I said that.
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uberllama42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. You never stated it outright, but you absolutely implied it
You said that Rumsfeld and Tamiflu are a better explanation than the conditions of Mexican factory farms vis-a-vis the flu outbreak. Why would you mention Rumsfeld in this context if you're not saying he has something to do with the flu outbreak? What point were you trying to make?
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Hugin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. I implied nothing of the sort.
I was saying there is no evidence presented in the OP... No facts.

It's speculation.

Have there ever been any epidemics shown to stem from Factory Farming?
Any pandemics?

Not that I know of...

So, the Factory Farming link is exactly as tenuous as the Rumsfeld connection.

What makes the Factory Farm theory more credible than the other theory?
Nothing... Other than some would rather believe in the innate goodness of Rumsfeld (and his associates) at the expense of Factory Farming.

Let me end this by saying... I myself would rather believe Rumsfeld is a shrewd and cynical businessman than anything sinister on the part of radical Right Wing conspiracies. But, they've tried to pull things over on me before.
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
25. yes and no....
As you suggest, raising pigs in dense and unsanitary conditions certainly fosters disease-- this is evidenced by the routine use of antibiotics in animal feed. But it's important to remember that the REAL culprit here is the adaptability of influenza A virus combined with host similarity between humans and pigs. Swine are a natural incubator for human flu strains, so non-human strains can easily recombine with human-infectious strains in pigs.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
26. But bacon tastes good.
Sorry, just wanted to be the first to say it.
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LaurenG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. bad flvegan...bad
:spank:


:7
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janx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
28. I was just about to post the article from Huffpost--
thank you for beating me to it! David Kirby provides a lot of useful information.
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