Swine flu could be good for pigs...

...and our morals.

This is a video of happy pigs. Pigs are highly intelligent and organised animals.

The Evening Standard writes that US exports of pork fell 20% in the first half of this year after the H1N1 virus outbreak in April led to import restrictions in China and Russia.

US farmers are losing $30 to $35 on every pig they sell this month and may not make money until May, dealers say. Producers have been unprofitable for 20 of the 22 months to July, and more than 5000 of them may have to exit the business. Swine flu will contribute to an 11% drop in global pork trade this year.

Many claim that the barbaric, intensive, industrial farming methods in which over half the world's pig meat is produced could well be responsible for swine flu. Huge industrial farms are perfect breeding grounds for dangerous pathogens and influenza viruses. The risk to human health is so great that the American Health Association called for an end to factory farming in 2003.

The dangers to humans, apart from being the possible cause of the H1N1 virus, from factory farming include the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can infect humans and the fact that 75% of emerging human diseases in recent decades have been of animal origin. Other impacts involve the loss of livelihoods for small-scale farmers, deforestation and biodiversity loss used to grow crops to feed factory farmed animals, pollution caused by animal wastes leaching into the soil and rivers and ammonia damaging air quality and contributing to acid rain.

And, of course, the most important fact is that this is an obscene system which, when one considers that half of the food in the West is simply thrown away and that cheap food contributes to obesity, is immoral and an indictment on our present society. Can people really suggest that we can justify keeping pigs like this -

See CIWF Compassion in World Farming.