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The Swine flu virus is transmitted like human flu, via infected nasal secretions and respira-
tory droplets, such as those from the coughing of an infected person. It is also passed by
direct contact, for example shaking hands or kissing. It can remain infectious on surfaces
for 2 to 8 hours. Unlike the seasonal flu viruses, the H1N1 virus can infect lung cells deeply
(as opposed to infecting the upper respiratory system only) causing pneumonia and in
serious cases death.

Typical symptoms are:
a sudden fever (high body temperature of 38°C / 100.4°F or above), a sudden cough
Other symptoms may include:
headache, tiredness, chills, aching muscles, limb or joint pain, diarrhoea or stomach upset, sore
throat, runny nose, sneezing, loss of appetite


Scientists have traced the genetic lineage of the Scientists are now realising that the way that our
current swine flu strain to a swine virus called food is produced has played a major role in the
H3N2 that was first identified 10 years ago in outbreak of swine flu. Factory farms keep thou-
factory farms in the US, where it spread and sands of animals packed together in cramped,
mutated at an alarming rate. Experts at that time unhygienic conditions where they stand in their
reported that the H3N2 strain had absorbed new own excrement and can’t turn around, allowing
genes from bird and human flus, producing a disease to spread quickly from pig to pig before
double hybrid virus, and warned that the virus making the jump to humans.
would someday evolve to infect humans, per- A single factory farm can produce 1.6 million
haps setting off a global pandemic. Eventually a tons of manure each year, which in turn contam-
variant of H3N2 mixed with a strain of Eurasian inates local water resources through runoff into
pig flu, producing the triple hybrid swine flu streams, rivers and lakes. This is more pollution
variant (a hybrid of a human virus, pig virus and than is produced by the city of Houston, Texas!
bird virus) that’s infecting humans today. These It’s too expensive to treat this huge amount of
new genes provided swine flu with the ability manure in waste water plants that handle hu-
to quickly reproduce and spread throughout pig man sewage, so most pork producers opt to
farms. Research by Dr Oliver Pybus of Oxford store the manure in giant outdoor lagoons.
University’s Department of Zoology indicates Some factory farms spray the excess waste
that the movement of live pigs between Eurasia into the air, nominally to spray it on the fields
and North America seems to have allowed this to grow crops to feed the pigs; however there is
mixing of different strains of flu virus to occur. often so much effluent that the land cannot ab-
The World Health Organization (WHO) has sorb all the manure. This spray can carry poten-
warned all governments to prepare for a long- tially deadly E. coli and salmonella, which are
term fight against swine flu, while Director later found on tomatoes, spinach, peppers, etc.
General Margaret Chan said that the virus could To keep the pigs disease-free, factory farm own-
change into a fatal form by mixing with the ers give them an increasing amount of antibiot-
H5N1 bird flu virus currently spreading in the ics, which has resulted in the disease-causing
poultry population. microbes becoming antibiotic resistant. In fact
in the USA, approximately 70% of antibiotics Pew Commission, USA on Industrial Farm Ani-
and related drugs produced in the US are given mal Production concluded in no uncertain terms
to livestock. The result is that pig workers in Eu- in its report that factory farm conditions pose
rope and North American have been found to ”unacceptable” public health risks.
be more susceptible to MRSA, drug resistant
E.coli and salmonella and swine flu, which can HAVE THERE BEEN OTHER DISEASES
be very deadly because few if any antibiotics are
effective once someone catches an antibiotic-
resistant disease. For example, in tests carried Swine flu is not the only deadly human disease
out in Iowa and Illinois, USA, 49% of pigs and traced to factory farming. Mad Cow Disease
45% of the workers who worked with the pigs has killed many people when natural herbivores
tested positive for MRSA. Studies conducted by such as cows and sheep were turned into can-
researchers at the University of Iowa revealed nibals by feeding them slaughter-plant waste,
that people working with animals are 50 times blood and manure. In 2005, China experienced
more likely to catch respiratory illnesses and vi- the world’s largest and deadliest outbreak of an
ruses from the animals they work with. emerging pig pathogen called Strep suis, caus-
ing meningitis and deafness in people handling
infected pork products. Pig factories in Malaysia
birthed one of the deadliest of human patho-
gens: the Nipah virus. a contagious respiratory
disease causing relapsing brain infections, the
Nipah virus kills 40% of people infected. In July
2009, the Ebola virus was detected in pigs in the
Philippines. As with Swine flu the danger is that
1918 PANDEMIC as the virus evolves, it will mutate and return to
the human population in a much more virulent
The worst plague in human history was trig- form.
gered by an H1N1 avian flu virus, which jumped
the species barrier from birds to humans, infect- HUMAN DISEASES OF
ing more than 500 million people (more than a
quarter of the human race at that time) and went ANIMAL ORIGIN
on to kill as many as 50 to 100 million people in According to the World Organisation for Animal
the 1918 flu pandemic. No disease, war or fam- Health, 60% of human pathogens and 75% of
ine ever killed so many people in such a short a recent emerging diseases, including TB, are of
time. The pigs then re-contracted the virus from animal origin. Diseases which are passed from
humans, and since then it has continued to cir- animals to humans are called ‘zoonotic’. All ar-
culate and mutate amongst the pigs. eas of meat, poultry, egg, and dairy production
(e.g. meat transportation and processing, ani-
WARNINGS UNHEEDED mal rendering, manure handling practices) can
contribute to food contamination and zoonotic
In 2003, the American Public Health Associa- disease. In the US, around 73,000 illnesses
tion, the largest and oldest association of pub- each year are caused by E. coli infection, lead-
lic health professionals in the world, called for ing to over 2,000 hospitalisations and 60 deaths
a moratorium on factory farming. In 2005, the and costing an estimated $405 million annually.
United Nations urged that “governments, local Consumption of food and water contaminated
authorities and international agencies need to with animal wastes is a major route of human
take a greatly increased role in combating the infection.
role of factory-farming,” which, they said, com-
bined with live animal markets, “provide ideal The UK Cabinet paper, Food Matters, states that
conditions for the [influenza] virus to spread deaths due to Listeria are rising and that meat
and mutate into a more dangerous form.” In contamination is a continuing challenge, as is
April 2008, after a 2.5 year investigation, the the threat of diseases transferring from animals
to humans.
The World Bank estimated in 2008 that a flu pandemic could cost $3 trillion worldwide and cause
an almost 5% decrease in world GDP with more than 70 million people dying worldwide in a severe

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the US has called on leaders to “shut down
the flu farms” saying that “1 in 3 pigs harbour flu viruses. It is time for all of us to wake up to the fact

that the way we are raising animals is creating an opportunity for viruses or diseases to afflict the
global community, with potentially millions of human casualties.”

• Wash your hands frequently: Use antibacterial soaps or alcohol-based hand cleaner when soap
and water are not available. Wash thoroughly for 30 seconds getting under the fingernails
• Wear a face mask when outside: a surgical or a respirator variety (N95). [to protect others, always
cough or sneeze into a tissue].
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed your hands
• Avoid close contact with infected people or stand a few feet away from them and avoid physi-
cal contact
• Boost your immune system: Keeping your body strong, nourished, and ready to fight infection.
Stick with whole grains, colourful vegetables, and vitamin-rich fruits.
• Keep hydrated: Drink 8 to10 glasses of water each day to flush toxins from your system and
maintain good moisture and mucous production in your sinuses
• Be physically active: Moderate exercise can support the immune system by increasing circula-
tion and oxygenating the body
• Avoid alcohol: Apart from being a mood depressant, alcohol is an immune suppressant that
can decrease your resistance to viral infections like swine flu
• When flying, carry onboard antibacterial wet-tissues or a small antibacterial spray, cleaning
hands regularly. Also try to minimize putting your hands near to your ears, nose or mouth.
• Get plenty of sleep to keep your immune system in good shape


We now know that swine flu has its origins in the cramped and filthy conditions of factory farms.
In order to prevent the outbreak of such diseases in the future, we need to rethink what we eat and
where we get it from.

When Oprah Winfrey went on a three week vegan diet cleanse, she was surprised to know it was so
satisfying. She stated “Wow, wow, wow! I never imagined meatless meals could be so satisfying. I
can honestly say every meal was a surprise and a delight.”
More and more medical research is becoming available showing the link between a healthy lifestyle
and a plant-based diet.

When we look at illnesses, we see that three of the biggest killers in the world today are cardiovascu-
lar disease, cancer and diabetes. The World Health Organisation reports that cardiovascular diseases
account for almost half of the total chronic disease deaths. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise and
are starting to appear earlier in life. In fact, obesity is the second greatest self-caused killer after
smoking. Research by medical doctors such as Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, Dr. John Mc-
Dougall, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has found that vegan diets can be used to reverse and even cure
these diseases. A 2007 article in the world’s leading medical journal ‘The Lancet’ entitled ‘Food, live-
stock production, energy, climate change, and health’ stated that there is strong scientific evidence
that vegetables and fruits protect against these diseases, whilst the health risks posed by the rapid
worldwide growth in meat consumption, which accounts for nearly one fifth of global greenhouse
gas emissions, is both exacerbating climate change and directly contributing to certain diseases.

The World Cancer Research Fund in its 2007 report recommended reducing the consumption of
red and processed meats stating that they are a convincing cause of colorectal cancer. In August
2009, they started urging parents not to put meat in children’s lunchboxes, believing that bad eating
habits can start in childhood. Their reports state scientific evidence that links “processed meats to
an increase in bowel cancer risk” and that curing, salting or adding preservatives to meat can intro-
duce carcinogenic substances. Lisa Cooney, Head of Education at the World Cancer Research Fund,
interviewed on the BBC News recommended that the best approach for adults and children alike is
to avoid cancer-causing meats completely.
A vegan diet is healthier than a vegetarian diet because of the health risks involved in consuming
dairy products. Dairy products contain saturated fat and cholesterol. A 2007 study based on adults
65 years or older, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered that a diet with
many dairy products increases your chances of developing cancer by 300%. Calcium in green leafy
vegetables is better absorbed than in dairy products. One cup of cooked kale or turnip greens, 2
packets of instant oats, two-thirds of a cup of tofu or two-thirds of a cup of broccoli, each of these
contain the same amount of absorbable calcium as 1 cup of cow’s milk.
According to Dr. Campbell. author of the China Study, “People who ate the most animal-based foods
got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and
tended to avoid chronic disease.”

The American Dietetic Association recently stated (July 2009) that “vegetarian
diets, including vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide
health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases, and are ap-
propriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy,
lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.”

What You Should Know about Swine Flu: Q&A with Dr. Michael Greger
o rg
Swine Flu Ancestor Born on U.S. Factory Farms
e t.

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