Before leaving for Haiti, I wrote and saved some blog entries, including the one below, figuring I might be to tired to do it when I got back. So I had already planned to say something about the “swine flu.”
Cherie and I travelled to Haiti with Jim and Steph Reed, another couple from our church (where Jim is the lead pastor). The four of us were sitting in the Miami airport, waiting for our flight home, with CNN blaring in the background. After being in Haiti, being in the U.S. (particularly somewhere like an airport) has a surreal feeling to it. Things just don’t seem as real as they do in Haiti. And things that used to be normal, seem vulgar or frivolous. Our hearts were all full, and we were trying to make sense of it all, while in this surreal airport world, when the voice of Wolf Blitzer exclaimed, “Experts predict a fresh outbreak of swine flu this fall. Is the Federal government prepared to deal with it?” There was a tone of urgency to his question. Even though none of us were watching the television, for whatever reason we all heard him clearly. Without first saying a word, we all broke out laughing. No one else in our area saw the humor in it. That’s because they hadn’t just returned from Haiti.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote before leaving:
Governments around the world have seized the opportunity presented by the swine flu hysteria. Predominantly Muslim nations have exterminated the pigs in their countries (http://www.whiteflintfarm.com/Billsblog/?p=202), for example. Our own Congress did what it always does when dealing with a perceived crisis–it threw money at it. Despite the fact that we are essentially bankrupt, surviving off the Fed’s printing press and loans from foreign central banks, Congress appropriated nearly $8 billion to combat the supposed coming pandemic. The President had originally requested a mere $1 billion, but what can you really get for a billion dollars these days?
So where did this flu strain come from? Factory farms, of course.
Researchers have identified the source of the outbreak in a Mexican village where a major US based pork producer operates a CAFO holding a million pigs. The genetic lineage to the virus (now going by the more politically-correct name “H1NI”) goes back to a strain that emerged on US factory farms in 1998.
I expect that H1NI is generating much ado about very little. But as I’ve argued in many posts, it is only a matter of time before an anti-biotic resistant microbe that transfers to humans will emerge from one of this disease factories. When that happens, the CAFO system may end. Until then, beat the rush and get your meat from sustainable farms.