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Swine Flu

Mad Cows or Just Mad Eating Habits?

Mad Cows or Just Mad Eating Habits?

Posted 1 April 2010   by _Matt         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: Mad Cow Disease, factory farming, health, environment, effluent, veg, cows, pigs, chickens, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, guest blog

So, you may have seen in the news that Australia is lifting its ban on beef imports from mad-cow countries. Let me tell you why this makes me mad:

Mad-cow disease is an illness affecting cattle - caused by feeding cows to cows. Nasty stuff!

But it gets even nastier! If humans eat this infected meat, it can cause the fatal disease, called Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (you know with a name that long it's gotta be bad!). Sure, these countries claim to have the all clear from mad-cow disease now, but any country that used to feed cows to cows doesn't sound like a smart place to import beef from (not that killing cows sounds like a good idea to begin with). Anyway, while turning cows into cannibals before eating them sounds pretty mad, we've got some home-grown nastiness to worry about - a not-so-little thing called factory farming.

Packing animals into overcrowded sheds, where they may have to live in their own filth without fresh air, natural light or exercise is bound to make them sick. So animals in factory farms are often fed a diet of antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to be killed. The problem with this? Viruses evolve and antibiotics don't. Factory farms are the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant super bugs. That's right; diseases not even modern medicine can cure - *cough* Bird Flu *cough* Swine Flu *cough*

And while it's gross - what goes in must come out. The major problem: The huge amount of waste produced by factory farms is not treated, like human waste is. In the case of pigs, it is channelled into massive, open-air cesspits. These "lagoons" (as the industry calls them) can pollute the soil and underground water supplies, and run-off can wreak havock on local waterways - not to mention the health risks to the local community!

But, no need to worry! Like a wizard, I have the perfect solution for you! And while you're at it, you'll be helping heaps of others in a big way. What is it, I hear you chanting? What do I have to do? What must I eat? No, no, no! It's much simpler than that! It's what you don't have to eat - animals!

Not eating animals reduces your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Don't eat animals - get a longer life expectancy - it's that easy! Your Mum's been telling you to eat your vegetables forever, so what better way to make her happy?

Sound good? Great! Then click here to take the pledge to be veg and give the cows one less reason to be mad ;)

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Swine Flu Discovered in Aussie Piggery
Posted By Ward

Swine Flu Discovered in Aussie Piggery

Posted 3 August 2009   by         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: swine flu, pigs, health, factory farming, cancer, veg

It was only a matter of time – raising animals for food in filthy overcrowded sheds was bound to come and bite us in the backside, but when Swine Flu broke out in Mexico we didn't expect to see it in Australia any time soon. And before we knew it, we became one of the nations with the greatest swine flu count per capita. And now it's been found on a factory farm in NSW – the very place it originated (ie. a factory farm in Mexico).

Pork representatives are trying to convince us that it's still safe to eat pig products, but really, was it ever safe?!

  • If you ask the World Cancer Research Fund: "The scientific evidence linking processed meat [ie. ham, bacon, salami, etc] and bowel cancer shows that the best amount to eat is none at all."
  • Eating pigs is not only dangerous for our health, but the conditions they are raised in (confined in cages surrounded by their own waste products) is just a breeding ground for disease – a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Anyway, who's the one telling us it's safe? It's the Australian Pork Industry (surprise!) – the same people who make a buck off selling it. I kind of see it like a thief telling you it's safe to leave your bag with him.

Personally, I'm content to chow down on my FLT (facon, lettuce and tomato sandwich) and leave the pigs in peace.

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Swine Flu: Another Factory Farmed Product

Swine Flu: Another Factory Farmed Product

Posted 15 May 2009   by Angie         Permalink | 11 Comments

Tags: swine flu, pigs, factory farming, veg, health

So over the past few weeks we have been warned of the deadly outbreak of "Swine Flu" in Mexico that is now spreading around the world. There has been much debate about whether we are treating the pandemic too seriously or not seriously enough, and more importantly whether it really came from pigs and if pork is safe to eat. The name was even officially changed from “Swine Flu” to “Influenza A (H1N1)” to try and re-assure consumers that eating pig products is safe. But if you are like me and countless others who have been writing to newspapers and reading up on the situation, I bet you've been remembering the panic when bird flu broke out and thinking "when will they get it, factory farming is a recipe for disaster!"

Where the Swine Flu outbreak started, in Mexico, is just 5 miles from an "industrial pig facility" which "processes" close to a million pigs a year and is jointly owned by the world's largest pig "processor", Smithfield Foods (Isn't it ridiculous that these places are referred to as "facilities" rather than "farms", why don't they just be totally honest and call them prisons?) (you can take a tour of this 'facility' with Sharon Churcher, here). Smithfield Foods says the outbreak was not a result of its facility and that none of its pigs have the virus. But Smithfield Foods have less than a splendid track record with hygiene and honesty.

Whether or not this particular facility was responsible for this outbreak, the question has to be asked, how can factory farms NOT inevitably spread disease?

There are hundreds of millions of pigs and chickens crammed in unnatural, stressful environments in these "facilities" all over the world. They are often fed antibiotics in their food to stop them from getting sick in these breading grounds for disease called factory farms. Frequent use of anti-biotics is KNOWN to result in super-bugs that become resistant to the drugs. The huge amounts of waste they produce is not treated the way human waste is, it is instead channeled into huge open-air ses-pits, or as the "facilities" like to refer to them, "lagoons". These lagoons attract large swarms of flies that feed off the untreated waste and then may fly to local communities. And of course, the health of communities living near factory farms can also be seriously affected (as a great report called the PEW Report discusses).

With all the warning signs - the hideous animal cruelty, the previous pandemic scares and the devastating environmental toll - we have every reason to be worried of a disease outbreak. And yet people are still encouraged to chow down on their pork chops and chicken nuggets. It seems we are too scared to face the awful predicament we have gotten ourselves (and the animals) into with factory farming.

I think Raph Brous summed it up pretty well in the Sydney Morning herald,

"Swine flu is a result of the inhumanity practiced by pig farmers who prioritise profits over animal welfare. People who eat pork products ignore that the pig industry severely harms the environment and the pigs.

"How sadly ironic that as humans abuse animals, forcing thousands of pigs and poultry into squalid factory farms, their viruses combine and evolve into new strains that teach us a deadly lesson about the everyday abuse of animals to satisfy human greed."

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