Animal Aid

Farming Animals Kills People

Posted 27 April 2009

Swine influenza A (H1N1) has now killed more than 100 people in Mexico and has spread to the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Spain, with additional suspected cases in Israel and Scotland. British health officials state that we should expect to see cases in the UK and that this could become a global pandemic.

Although known as swine flu, the virus contains genetic segments from human and bird viruses, as well as from pigs from North America, Europe and Asia.

Dr. Linda Van Etta, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert in the US said: 'It’s a strain never before seen, has spread rapidly over large areas and is spreading directly from humans to humans. It’s got all the characteristics. The odds are very good this is the first pandemic of the 21st century’

Swine flu is the latest in a long line of devastating diseases caused by farming animals. While health officials worldwide have been expecting a flu pandemic, the focus has largely been on bird flu, which has also killed at least five people in the past week (three in Egypt and one each in Vietnam and Indonesia).

According to Dr Michael Greger, author of Bird Flu: a virus of our own hatching, farming animals for their meat, milk and eggs has unleashed many epidemics upon the human world. He writes that tuberculosis is thought to have been acquired from the domestication of goats; measles (a mutant of the bovine rinderpest virus) and smallpox from farming cows; whooping cough from pigs; typhoid fever from chickens; and influenza from ducks.

And we shouldn’t be surprised. It is naive to imagine that we can incarcerate animals inside crowded, filthy factory farms without them suffering a high level of infectious diseases. That this outbreak of swine flu has the potential to cause a human pandemic is a serious wake-up call. To prevent future disease outbreaks and the deaths of millions more people, the only sane answer is to stop farming animals for their meat, milk and eggs.

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