Flu outbreak - factory farms

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Flu outbreak - factory farms

What the mainstream media is NOT telling us here in North America is that there is a connection to the factory farms in Mexico owned by an American corporation. Of course not, that would be bad publicity...

 But it does remain a fact, as reported in Mexico and in alternative news outlets on the web, that the Smithfield Farms operation near Vera Cruz at the epicenter of this flu outbreak. I guess we can each come to our own conclusions as to what this censorship means... just protecting a corporate entity and type of farm operation from scrutiny, or something worse?


ALt news:





I am sure most here have read Fast Food Planet but if not then it is required reading when it comes to Smithfield and other agribusinesses . I can't remember if it was the Star or the Globe but an article was written saying that Mexican inspectors had declared the plant in compliance with regulations etc. and in the same paragraph the manager of the plant being visited said that the inspectors had not visited his plant,

remind remind's picture

CTV covered this a bit last night, as much as they could I suppose. At least they indicated  that people who have contacted this and died, are from the factory farm area, and they noted  other strains of swine flu have been found elsewhere, but they not the one found in Mexico around this factory farm.


The "NAFTA Flu":


Smithfield Farms Fled US Environmental Laws to Open a Gigantic Pig Farm in Mexico, and All We Got Was this Lousy Swine Flu

Maysie Maysie's picture

.... submitting this for your consideration. I think most of us have noticed how right-wing pundits are using racist fearmongering tactics to blame the swine flu on illegals from Mexico - even to the point of referring to it as the "Mexican flu." The fact that the carriers were actually a bunch of prep-school kids from Queens who went to Cancun for Spring Break seems to have been lost on them.

From the Guardian:


The outbreak of respiratory illness in the area of the Granjas Carroll plant was first detected at the beginning of this month by Veratect, a company based in Washington state which monitors the spread of disease and pandemics around the world for corporate clients.

nojojojo ends with: If this is confirmed, what will the Repundits call it then? “Colonialism Cough”? “Greedy Gringo Fever”? 


Mexican Flu my ass: The Angry Black Woman

Maysie Maysie's picture

Justicia for Migrant Workers' Press release:


Justicia (Justice) for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is gravely concerned about the potential backlash that Guatemalan and Mexican migrant workers may face as a result of the swine flu epidemic. J4MW questions the rise in xenophobic discourse from both politicians and the mainstream media. We are urging people to address the issues related to the epidemic but not to unfairly attack those workers who are employed annually in Canada under the auspices of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP).

Furthermore, J4MW urges Federal and Provincial officials to ensure that migrant workers are not specifically targeted. J4MW is concerned that a double standard is being implemented through the differential treatment of the thousands of migrant workers employed in Canada versus the tens of thousands of permanent residents who travel to and from Mexico annually. The exclusive targeting of migrant workers constitutes the racial profiling of specific communities.

Learning from the experience of the SARS crisis, Asian Canadian community activists were instrumental in organizing in order to counter attacks and discrimination against their community. We urge our communities to be vigilant of racial profiling and to treat all people with respect and dignity when dealing with public health concerns. We are also calling for steps to be taken to lessen the sense of public hysteria that seems to be engulfing our communities. The current response to this epidemic is only replicating the kind of discrimination and harm experienced by the Asian Canadian community during SARS.

J4MW encourages public health officers, elected officials, and others to refocus their efforts to address, not only the health of migrant workers when they arrive in Canada, but also the pervasive health and safety issues raised by workers that regularly go unattended to while they are living and working in Canada. These issues include work related injuries, the use of chemicals in the fields, over-crowded housing conditions, and poor field sanitation, among other violations of health and safety standards.

Justicia for Migrant Workers in collaboration with allied organizations such as the Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario (IAVGO), will undertake the following measures to ensure the welfare of migrant workers in Canada:

* Make available a toll-free bilingual telephone number (funded by Law Foundation of Ontario) in case of workplace injuries, discrimination or other work related concerns. The English number is 1-877-230-6311 and for service in Spanish 1-866-521 8535 (in Ontario most accidents and many illnesses that workers experience are considered workplace injuries for the purpose of Workers Compensation.)

* Develop materials for workers on how to respond to health concerns and accessing their rights, benefits and entitlements.

* Coordinate with local community organizations to support public health issues articulated by migrant workers.

* Connect migrant workers to resources in their local communities.

* Conduct workshops and consultations with workers to develop a workers-based action plan to counter perceived threats from members of local communities.

*Coordinate efforts with other community and ethno-racial organizations to combat stereotypes and

*Closely monitor abuses and forms of harassments that might be directed at all migrant workers (documented and undocumented.)

For more information please contact Chris Ramsaroop, (647) 834 - 4932, [email protected], or [email protected]


Website here.


Yes, the major media DID cover this story... later on...

  I like to think that their decision to tell about the role of Smithfield's factory hig farm had something to do with the alternative media informing so many people.


   Other non-covered issues include that Mexico's govt. has REVISED the death toll down to just 7.

   SEVEN!!! Mainstream media is still finding ways to push that count up, but the truth seems to be that hardly anyone is dying of THIS particular strain of the flu [H1N1;

   {but oddly enough OTHER flu-like illnesses are killing more than this one is? - as in, those other deaths that were found to NOT be related to the H1N1 flu]


Links to story about death numbers:

From France:



GNN:  [this link also links to article above] -




Papal Bull

It is confirmed vs. probable deaths. There just hasn't been rigorous enough testing yet to determine which of those probable cases have actually been caused by this specific H1N1 virus. Wait for the number to go up.


I'd like to blame factory farms as much as the next person but...were there factory farms in 1919?

Papal Bull

Nope, just a human death factory for preceeding years and a massive movement of people in the post-war settings. The factory farms have proven to be excellent breeding grounds for the virus. I'm sure that we'll have some interesting research to read in the coming months regarding this factor in potential future pandemics.


Anywhere there's a concentrated population of animals (or people, for that matter) it becomes easier for diseases to spread, so yes, I can see how factory farming might have made it easier for this virus to evolve and transmit itself. However, it has to be said that there do not need to be factory farming conditions for viruses to move among animals and people.

Bookish Agrarian

I'm about as against the industrial model as you can get.  However, I haven't seen any very convincing evidence that links this back to industrial hog production.  Not saying it is impossible, just that it is probably wrong to jump conclusions.  This could very well have been existing flus that mixed within the human population.


Noah_Scape wrote:
What the mainstream media is NOT telling us here in North America is that there is a connection to the factory farms in Mexico owned by an American corporation.

Ironically enough, here in Manitoba there has been concern raised about whether the flu outbreak will mean restrictions on Mexican migrant farm workers coming into Canada. Go figure.

No Yards No Yards's picture

Well, to protect the hog industry we are no longer calling it "Swine flu" ... they claim they don't want countries to get confused and start slaughtering all their hogs .... actually, the claim was made because Egypt had announced it was going to slaughter all it's pigs (yeah, right, the Muslims are known for their pig farming industry.)

Is it more likely that changing the name to N1H1 is to keep governments from culling all their pigs, or is it more likely that the name change is to keep average people from associating this with an industry that might need better regulation and demanding some new rules?




Here's a quote from Thursday's Toronto Star on the topic of Swine Flu, "Countries should remain on high alert for signs of the influenza and world leaders, drug companies, businesses and governments must all work together to combat what the future may hold." The quote is a paraphrasing of what Dr. Margaret Chan from the World Health Organization said at a recent press conference.


As much as I have confidence in our world leaders and drug companies, I am skeptical about the level of hysteria that has been drummed up over Swine Flu. Approximately half a million people die every year from the flu.  According to the Toronto Star, Between      6, 500 and 7, 500 Mexicans die each year from pneumonia-like diseases. Doctors are saying that the symptoms of H1N1 are virtually indistinguishable from other seasonal flu strains.  I'm not saying that the flu isn't serious.  It is.  It always has been.  Jim Henson died from it.  But why is the WHO treating this flu as though it's something special?  Now that flu strains can be more easily identified and tracked, can we expect WHO alerts every flu season? 


Hmmm....Maybe I should invest my pension shares in Tamiflu.



Here's Thomas Walkom's Friday column



They say it was effecting healthy people people ala sars. IIRC. Bu regardless, much as when te first day it happened I told my parents it was going to be some media overblowing as not much else is going on(other than stuff becoming passe like pirates.)

Can't believe how even with some of the medical community saying this isn't anything special, some(wonder who pays there bills) are saying this is super duper serious...aybe I'm a cynic, but it ain't. From the sounds of things it is mild coughing adn runny nose, Some cases dont even have fever.

Mild flu nothing more. The people dying in mexico may be something else, Roche is making a killing(sorry best word no disrespect meant) selling Tamiflu to all the people jumping off the flu cliff like lemmings. Course no one would have batted an eye if the media hadn't gone apeshit about this for no reason.


[url=http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2009/04/28/cia-link-to-cu... Link to Cuban Pig Virus Reported[/url] San Francisco Chronicle 1977



With at least the tacit backing of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officials, operatives linked to anti-Castro terrorists introduced African swine fever virus into Cuba in 1971. Six weeks later an outbreak of the disease forced the slaughter of 500,000 pigs to prevent a nationwide animal epidemic.

A U.S. intelligence source told Newsday last week he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at a U.S. Army base and CIA training ground in the Panama Canal Zone, with instructions to turn it over to the anti-Castro group.

The 1971 outbreak, the first and only time the disease has hit the Western Hemisphere, was labeled the "most alarming event" of 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. African swine fever is a highly contagious and usually lethal viral disease that infects only pigs and, unlike swine flu, cannot be transmitted to humans. All production of pork, a Cuban staple, halted, apparently for several months. . .


The U.S. intelligence source said that early in 1971 he was given the virus in a sealed, unmarked container at Ft. Gulick, an Army base in the Panama Canal Zone. The CIA also operates a paramilitary training center for career personnel and mercenaries at Ft. Gulick.

The source said he was given instructions to turn the container with the virus over to members of an anti-Castro group.

The container then was given to a person in the Canal Zone, who took it by boat and turned it over to persons aboard a fishing trawler off the Panamanian coast. The source said the substance was not identified to him until months after the outbreak in Cuba. He would not elaborate further.

Could be a germ warfare test.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Seventy percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. do not go to humans but to healthy livestock, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The practice of injecting huge quantities of hogs with antibiotics seems to be having the consequence of nurturing a host of antibiotic resistance related diseases like MRSA. Unlike antibiotics, the pharmaceutical industry typically does not get much involved in vaccines because there is so little money in it. During the 1976 swine flu epidemic they would not produce vaccines unless the federal government assumed the risk for bad vaccine outcomes - a form of socialized medicine for capital.

In Michigan government flu seminars I attended two years ago, I was informed that officials expect at least 70,000 to die from the next pandemic flu when it eventually hits the state. The chief mode of medical action? Besides antivirals and vaccinations it's a hefty dose of "social distancing." In other words, close the factories, close the schools, stop taking busses and just stay away from people. The poor and working class will have the most difficulty doing this as anthropologist Paul Farmer eloquently makes clear in his "Infections and Inequalities (1999)." The Third World will suffer immeasurably, lacking easy access to antivirals and vaccinations.



Ditto for chickens, and to a lesser degree beef.

But, of course, the poultry board of Ontario ramps up with an anti-free range\organic chicken campaign.  Apparently my birds, exposed to the outdoors, are much more dangerous because they may come into contact with avian influenza carrying wildfowl.  Lesson learned: chickens in barns are safer, where they can be medicated properly.

It's amazing what we have to eat.

Going back to Maysie's posts.  I'm not sure that migrant workers in Ontario are allowed in processing but it would not surprise me at all.  In the states it's a much bigger issue.


M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Laura Carlsen wrote:

Experts have long warned that "industrial farm animal production" (IFAP) leads to potentially serious human health impacts. A tragically prophetic study done by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production of 2008 concludes, "... one of the most serious unintended consequences of industrial food animal production is the growing public health threat of these types of facilities. In addition to the contribution of IFAP to the major threat of antimicrobial resistance, IFAP facilities can be harmful to workers, neighbors, and even those living far from the facilities through air and water pollution, and via the spread of disease."

The study continues, "Workers in and neighbors of IFAP facilities experience high levels of respiratory problems, including asthma. In addition, workers can serve as a bridging population, transmitting animal-borne diseases to a wider population."

As residents of La Gloria protested the stench and pointed to the hog farm as the source of their sickness, Mexican authorities went out of their way to divert suspicions that Smithfield's Carroll Farms had anything to do with the unusual illnesses being reported. Although state health officials sprayed the village of La Gloria to kill off swarms of flies coming from the company's nearby open-pit manure lagoons, explanations lit on anything but the hog farm....

For years scientists have known that pigs incubate and mutate viruses and many have warned that "factory farms" where large numbers are kept in close quarters create a perfect breeding ground for the rapid evolution of disease. The massive use of antibiotics means that viruses seek mutations resistant to the medicines. In the past, few cases of swine flu passing to human transmission were reported but it has long been known that it is possible. This virus posed a particular risk because of its virulent capacity for human-to-human contagion.

Since the early days of the outbreak, evidence has piled up on the swine origin of the disease. Co-author of a key report in Nature, biologist Michael Worobey said, "The current strain evidently spread without anyone noticing it for 10 years," referring to spread among pig populations.  Science News quotes him, concluding, "Across the genome, this is something that came from pigs ... We need to spend more energy looking at what's in pigs."

The consensus is that the H1N1 virus is a mutant form of swine flu, human seasonal flu, and bird flu. In itself, it is not lethal, but it leads to complications of "atypical pneumonia." The pneumonia is atypical because it occurs out of season and because victims tend to concentrate in the middle age range-unlike regular pneumonia that picks off the very young and the very old, deaths of this virus tend to be within the 20-40 range....

One of the reasons oversight is so lax on factory farms is that a stark distinction exists among agencies and regulations pertaining to human health and animal health. It seems that although the virus leaps species barriers with deadly ease, bureaucracies cannot. When asked why the FAO assumed that the source of contagion on the Canadian farm was a worker returning from Mexico rather than the pigs infecting the worker, FAO spokesperson Northoff replied that the organization could not investigate to confirm the human-to-animal link because the FAO "only works on animal health issues."...

Mexico's experience as the epicenter of the swine flu pandemic provides an opportunity to expose a system that didn't work. Without elaborating on each, here is a list for further collective analysis:

  • Self-monitoring of industry and globalization provisions that enable polluting industries to locate where laws and enforcement are lax encourage practices that threaten health and the environment, like open-pit manure lagoons, non-reporting of animal illness, cover-ups, and other factors that contributed to the swine flu epidemic.
  • The centrality of foreign investment in the Mexican economy creates a climate where transnational corporations with large investments can exercise coercive power over government agencies on all levels.
  • NAFTA failed to promote a strategically important technology transfer to Mexico in the health field and others, and has proved a disincentive to national research and development.

All analysis must include a gender perspective. Women made up 56% of the deaths from the swine flu in Mexico and pregnant women are at greater risk of severe illness and death. Since the H1N1 flu attacks a middle age range, this poses a serious challenge. Also the compromised immune systems of many Mexicans who live without adequate health and nutrition-a condition that includes a disproportionate number of women-contributes to flu mortality rates.

[url=http://americas.irc-online.org/am/6408?utm_source=streamsend&utm_medium=... article[/url]


The Great Swine Flu Coverup


"Citizen networks need to organize.."

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

The Great Swine Flu Coverup


"Citizen networks need to organize.."

Um, that's exactly the same article I posted immediately above. I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case, I suspect it was entirely inadvertent.


inadvertent - sorry. Good piece!


Tamiflu-Resistant Swine Flu Spreads


Nano Particles Used in Untested H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccines


"There is only one small problem with vaccines containing nanoparticles - they can be deadly and at the least cause severe, irreparable health damage.."