WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - October 26 - Dr. Allan Kornberg, pediatrician and executive director of Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, today issued the following statement about the next wave of swine flu outbreaks:
"With the world facing additional swine flu casualties, the crucial question of the virus' origins remains unanswered. Our dual priorities at this time must be minimizing the spread of H1N1 and determining where it came from, for only by identifying and fully understanding the source of its inception can we hope to form an effective defense against it in the coming months. Perhaps even more importantly, only by scientifically understanding how swine flu came to be can we prevent future outbreaks that claim an even greater number of lives in the coming years. "
Human Health Hazards
H1N1 (Swine Flu): The Health and Welfare Implications for Humans and Animals
The Root of the Problem
Even though swine flu now is not as deadly as many other illnesses, it is still a public health threat that must be taken seriously, and as such merits a concentrated investigation into its origins. Only by tracing the source of the infection can we hope to prevent future outbreaks (especially those that could prove far more lethal). The most current evidence seems to indicate that the recombinant pig-bird-human strain plaguing the world today germinated on a factory farm — an industrial pig farm in North Carolina (the nation’s top pork-producing state), to be exact.
Today’s H1N1 virus appears to be the mutated offspring of a hybrid “swine flu” bug that first emerged at a Smithfield facility in 1998 and combined gene sequences from pigs, birds and humans. Research showing that 80 percent of its gene sequences are identical to the virus that ravaged the U.S. and Canadian pig population in the late 1990s provide compelling support for this theory. Speculation continues to swirl around a possible link to a Smithfield subsidiary’s pig mega-farm in Mexico located near the first reported case of H1N1 and investigations are ongoing.
Washing hands and rethinking how we eat