Well, wouldn't you know it. Smithfield Farms, and the industrial pork industry in general, is flexing its muscle everywhere it can. First, pressure from the dead-pig industry led the W.H.O. to cease calling Swine Flu the Swine Flu ("to protect pigs" the headlines read. Protect them from what? Getting eaten? WTF?) And now they're managing to get the quite possible connection to their filthy swamp of pig shit in Mexico, from where many people believe this virus originated to be labelled a "conspiracy theory", just another wild internet rumor.
"Swine Flu Source Spawns Wild Theories" claims the headline.
This is a classic PR and propaganda tactic, designed to confuse the truth in people's minds with actual "wild" theories. It's a very effective way to mislead people into thinking that certain stories are false, an indirect strawman, if you will.
Check this out:
LONDON (Reuters) – Dead pigs in China, evil factory farms in Mexico and an Al Qaeda plot involving Mexican drug cartels are a few wild theories seeking to explain a deadly swine flu outbreak that has killed up to 176 people.
Notice the use of the word "evil". It's snarky, hyperbolic. "Oh yeah, those EVIL pig farms in Mexico! Ha ha! OOOOh, nasty evil pig shit!"
And right after that equating that "theory", which is very well worth investigating, seeing as how the "pig farm" in question is a festering swamp of pig shit which makes people sick anyway, with a truly nutty theory about drug dealers and Al Queda in Mexico.
But notice how the very next sentence, if you think about it, actually contradicts the premise of the article:
Nobody knows for sure but scientists say the origins are in fact far less sinister and are likely explained by the ability of viruses to mutate and jump from species to species as animals and people increasingly live closer to each other.
In case you haven't been keeping track of this, here are two really excellent diaries about the disgusting truth of the Smithfield pig farms in Mexico:
Swine Flu and Factory Farms by Ellinorianne and Swine Flu Linked to Smithfield Factory Farms by Mexican Press by FishOutOfWater. Here's another from MinistryOfTruth.
So yeah, to say that "as animals and people increasingly live closer to each other" is sort of an understatement. It's more like pigs and more pigs, millions of them, are piled on top of each other, crawling around in their own excrement, and anybody living nearby is probably gonna get sick as, well, a dog even if they don't catch a mutated form of the flu from this primordial soup.
As the diaries I list above mention, according to the swine flu timeline put together by a company called Veratect, who evidently map infection disease events for clients like the WHO & CDC:
A municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.
And, as one of the diaries above quotes from this article in The Guardian:
"According to state agents of the Mexican social security institute, the vector of this outbreak are the clouds of flies that come out of the hog barns, and the waste lagoons into which the Mexican-US company spews tons of excrement," reported Mexico City newspaper La Jornada.
So what kind of crap are we being fed from Reuters? Well, you can bet, judging from the current pathetic state of what passes for "journalism" in this country, they are simply regurgitating a press release sent out by some PR firm which is quite likely in the employ of the meat industry, and quite possibly Smithfield themselves.
This supposed "story" being put on the news sites by Reuters, is unabashedly a piece of disinformation:
Sound science, however, is no match for the Internet and unsubstantiated media reports when it comes to providing a forum for ideas that have forced responses from governments and companies alike.
China's Ministry of Agriculture, for example, on Wednesday denied overseas reports charging that dead pigs found in a south eastern province might be to blame for swine flu, according to an official Xinhua news agency article.
And in Mexico reports in at least two newspapers focused on a factory farm run by a subsidiary of global food giant Smithfield Foods. Some of the rumors mentioned noxious fumes from pig manure and flies -- neither a known vector for flu viruses.
Those reports brought a swift reply from the biggest U.S. hog producer.
"Based on available recent information, Smithfield has no reason to believe that the virus is in any way connected to its operations in Mexico," the company said in a statement.
Oh, well that settles it then! Smithfield Foods says it had nothing to do with it, so it must be true! After all, they sent out a "swift reply" and god knows that means the charges are meaningless!
I'm not saying I KNOW that flies breeding in an enormous lake of pig shit caused the virus to spread to human who lived nearby. But considering 30 percent of the area’s residents now infected with the virulent flu bug, it sure is worth looking into and it sure as hell is NOT a conspiracy theory.
I'm actually surprised to see Reuters involved with this, I really figured I'd see the AP associated with this. It's shameful.
Here's a picture I found on flickr.com of a well filled with dead pigs, at the farm in question in Mexico:
The caption reads:
29 april 2009 - La Gloria, Mexico - Dead pigs lie in a state of decomposition in one of the wells that the company Granjas Carroll uses to put the remains of pigs. The waste emits a fetid odour. La Gloria, villlage in the southern Mexican state of Veracruz, where the new strain of swine flu was first detected. Local people have blamed the Flu on the pig waste which is spread into the air and water from nearby industrial pig farms, known as Granjas Carroll and owned by the Virginia-based multinational company Smithfield Foods. A Smithfield spokeswoman says the company has found no clinical signs or symptoms of the flu in its swine herd or its employees in Mexico.
Yeah, a well filled with dead and decomposing pigs poses no health threat whatsoever, and anyone who thinks so is a "conspiracy theorist".