Although Smithfield Farms claims “It wasn’t my pig” and also claims it tested its herd and found it to be flu free, there are no independent studies confirming Smithfield’s innocence, primarily because Smithfield has refused independent testing.
So let’s back up a bit. The 2009 H1N1 epidemic, which infected anywhere between 11% and 21% of the word population, just might have originated at a Smithfield Farm – close to the epicenter of the outbreak that was traced there.
Scientists have known, and warned for years that raising animals in tightly confined and often filthy factory farms, along with the routine use of antibiotics to increase animal weight and prevent infections, was instead creating super-strains of antibiotic-resistant organisms that made it harder to treat diseases in humans as well. And this is not to mention the runoff off animal waste, ripe with these same organisms, which leaches into the soil and often escapes into freshwater streams and rivers when a flood occurs or when a manure lagoon bursts.
Smithfield Farms may very well be responsible for an outbreak that, while not as dire as originally predicted, infected millions of people, killing some, while in others resulted in missed work, lost income and medical costs, often borne by governments worldwide. Apparently our government didn’t care, as it has done nothing to investigate the matter, or at least nothing substantive.
It’s bad enough that factory farming is just plain cruel to animals. Owners put profits over humane practices and it would appear they are putting profits over human life. One can only wonder if Smtihfield invested heavily in Purell, which must have made a fortune selling sanitizer to prevent getting the flu. When you have no respect for animals it is only a short step to having no respect for people.