With pig herds in Canada, Argentina, Australia, and Ireland all having reported the presence of swine flu, US pig industry experts believe it is just a matter of time before farmed pigs in the US are infected with the virus. In the already-established cases, it is believed to have passed from an infected person to a pig, then spread throughout the pig herd.
One major fear of epidemiologists and virologists is that once a pig in a factory farm contracts the flu, the over-crowded indoor conditions and extremely toxic filth will cause the flu to spread rapidly and possibly mutate into an even more virulent form that can be passed back to humans.
Robert Martin, who directed a 2008 study by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production in the US indicated that pigs are very susceptible to further mutation, stating, “The concern is that there are so many animals that the virus can go through several generations of mutation in a very quick period of time.”
The current form of the virus continues to wreak havoc by taking human lives across the globe, with numbers that rose by 71 in two days to a global toll of 4,774. Fatalities across Britain reached 106, as cases in Scotland rose by 80 percent within just one week. India’s death toll surpassed 400, while other countries with recent fatalities include France, Belgium, Iran, Mexico, Canada, the Bahamas, Colombia, Venezuela, Formosa (Taiwan), and Thailand. Cases rose past 10,100 in Au Lac (Vietnam).
Two new US studies indicate that swine flu can inflict unusual damage to the lungs such as blood clots, calling for closer attention to these potentially lethal signs in severe cases. The swine flu has been called by the World Health Organization (WHO) the fastest spreading pandemic among humans in history, with so many cases that the agency has stopped attempting to keep tally.
We meanwhile pray for the recovery of the afflicted, and for the comfort of those who have lost loved ones. Our appreciation, Mr. Martin and the Pew Commission for these alerts of the potential dangers of the foul and inhumane conditions of pig farms in producing a deadlier virus. May we end that fearful possibility through the life-affirming adoption of plant-based foods.
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