Showing posts with label disease. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disease. Show all posts

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Agrochemicals speed the spread of deadly parasites

The schistosoma parasite worm. Image credit -
David Williams, Illinois State University.

Even low concentrations of pesticides can increase transmission and weaken efforts to control the second most common parasitic disease. Details here.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Beyond Covid 19. Are we risking yet another pandemic if we continue to embrace "assembly-line" livestock production into the future?

by Larry Powell

No one would argue that Covid 19 demands our undivided attention. Surely, defeating this "beast" has to be "Priority One." But, once it ends, and it will, here’s another key question that needs answering. Are we flirting with more such tragedies down the road if we do not soon end our love affair with an industrial, factory-style model of meat production? 
Six years ago, Dr. Margaret Chan (above), then the Director-General of the World Health Organization, delivered this positively prophetic message to an Asian investment conference. 

“The industrialization of food production is an especially worrisome trend. Confined animal feeding operations are not farms any more. They are protein factories with multiple hazards for health and the environment."
                                      Photo credit - Mercy for Animals, Manitoba

"These hazards come from the crowding of large numbers of animals in very small spaces, the stressful conditions that promote disease, the large quantities of dangerous waste, the need for frequent human contact with the animals.” 

The "farms" Dr. Chan was describing have been operating in North America  and Europe for decades and, more recently, in Asia, too. In much of the world, they're called "CAFOs," or Confined Animal Feeding Operations. In Canada, they're known as "ILOs," or Intensive Livestock Operations. 

China now produces more pork in this way than the rest of the world, combined!

Most scientists view wet food markets - where both wild and tame animals are sold, alive or dead - as hotspots for the emergence of new viruses that could spark the next influenza pandemic. (It is widely believed that the current Covid-19 pandemic originated at such a market in Wuhan, China.) Health authorities also say, as many as three out of every four new diseases emerging in the world today, result from close contact between humans and animals, either wild or domesticated.

The pandemic we are now struggling with, surely focuses (or should focus) renewed attention on this traditional livestock model, now being rapidly expanded right here in my home province, Manitoba. 

First, Covid 19 is a coronavirus, a family of infectious diseases. So, too is PEDv (or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus). PEDv claimed the lives of countless, defenseless piglets in the big hog barns of Manitoba in recent years. (I say countless because the industry won’t say how many and the Government - which sees its role as an enabler of the industry's business success - not as a regulator - claims it doesn’t know.) 

The epidemic cost provincial taxpayers at least $800 thousand dollars to combat. But this figure did not come freely. I had to launch an "access to information" request in order to pry it from the secretive fist of this Conservative government.

It’s believed Covid 19 originated with bats in China. So, it is thought, did PEDv. The difference is that Covid 19 “spilled over” into the human population, while PEDv has not. 

At least, not yet!

According to the Centers for Disease Control (US), “Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus. Recent examples of this are Covid 19, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).”

No one knows for sure whether PEDv will “morph” into something that will attack people. And that is precisely why we need credible, comprehensive and, above-all, independent research to at least identify and quantify the risk, once and for all. 

And I don’t mean the kind that’s now taking place at the University of Manitoba, which appears to be anything but. There, researchers, with hefty financial input from the pork industry in no less than seven provinces, are studying “pig foot printing.” 

So, just what does that mean? Far from looking into the industry’s profound and often negative impacts on the environment, or on human and animal health and welfare, the project shamelessly flaunts itself as a way to “advance the profitability of the Canadian swine sector” and “promote competitiveness.”

Does this sound like an initiative that will get to the bottom of any future health risks which it may pose to you and me?

Attempts by the citizen’s group, HogWatch Manitoba (HWM), to get more details about the research (i.e. whether it will find out how much industry pollution is leaking into waterways, for example), have fallen on deaf ears. So too, has the group's offer to provide input into the research. 

That a place of higher learning like the UofM should sign off on such a questionable project is surely nothing less than a grotesque conflict-of-interest.

For Manitoba, sadly, this looks like just another bit of "the old normal."


"In Hogs We Trust." Part 111

Sunday, May 24, 2020

At least 80 million children under one are at risk of diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio as COVID-19 disrupts routine vaccination efforts

World Health Organization
A WHO photo.
Agencies call for joint effort to safely deliver routine immunization and proceed with vaccination campaigns against deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. Story here.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Climate change poses 'lifelong' child health risk

Phys Org
It's feared that a changing climate may be providing improved
conditions for the mosquito which spreads the zika virus,
sometimes responsible for severe brain conditions in infants like this.
Climate change will damage the health of an entire generation unless there are immediate cuts to fossil fuel emissions, from a rise in deadly infectious diseases to surging malnutrition, experts warned Thursday. Story here.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

More research on African swine fever is urgently needed: No cure, no vaccine and no treatment yet exists for this lethal pig disease

The swelling around the kidneys & the muscle hemorrhages shown here
are typical of pigs with African swine fever. Karen Apicelli - USDA.
African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It kills nearly 100% of the pigs it infects. The good news is that the African swine fever virus does not infect or harm humans. The bad news is that it devastates household and national economies. Particularly in Africa and now in China and Vietnam, it can destroy the livelihoods. More here.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Mysterious Fungal Infection, Spans the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

The New York Times
The Candidida aurus fungus. A CDC image.

The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs. More here.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) is calling for the killing of Canada's entire population of wild pigs - by Larry Powell

Dr. Ryan Brook, Associate Professor in the College Agriculture
and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Ryan Brook says such a drastic and aggressive move would be justified because the animals can carry deadly disease such as African Swine Fever. ASF entered China, the world's largest hog producer, some time ago, forcing major culls of domestic animals there. It is feared the disease could spread to North America and that wild pigs could prove to be carriers and infect commercial swine herds in the US and Canada. It is believed such an eventuality would devastate the pork industry on this continent.

Dr. Brook suggests the wild animals could be captured in nets dropped from helicopters, then killed with bolt guns. He claims big ground traps and human ground crews could effectively catch and kill entire groups.
Wild pigs in winter. A Pexels photo.
He adds, while he respects sports hunters, their methods are not effective at controlling wild hog numbers. That's because they tend to fragment populations and make them harder than ever to capture. He says a plan to eradicate Canada's wild pig population is urgently needed and requires co-operation on a national and international scale.

Dr. Brook was speaking on the radio program "Farmscape," sponsored by the hog industry in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria widespread in Ontario waterways

Canadian Science Publishing

It turns out antibiotic-resistant bacteria are far more ubiquitous than previously thought. A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology tested the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in four aquatic environments in southern Ontario—and found them everywhere. Story here.

Monday, February 18, 2019

African swine fever (ASF) would be a disaster

There is a ‘clear risk’ the swiftly spreading disease could come here, says leading swine health vet

By Alexis Kienlen FOLLOW
Reporter Alberta farmer - February 11, 2019
These red spots are typical of African swine fever.  
A Wikimedia photo.
There is a real risk that the African swine fever virus could enter Canada — and if it did, it would be catastrophic, says one of the country’s leading swine health experts.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

New Canadian research sheds light on how a disease deadly to certain animals, mostly in the wild, is spread. The answer seems to lie beneath their feet!

by Larry Powell
It's a terrible ailment called chronic wasting disease (CWD).
A moose in Riding Mountain National Park, Canada.
A PinP photo.
Canada's Food Inspection Agency describes it as "a progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system of cervids (deer, elk and moose)." It is blamed on a prion, or abnormal protein, which is also linked to mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and CJD in humans. But CWD is the only disease in this group which spreads through the environment.

It's been common in North America for years and, to a lesser degree, south Korea. Here in Canada, it has long been ravaging free-roaming animals in Saskatchewan and Alberta. More recently, it has been detected on a farm which raises red deer in Quebec and even among domesticated reindeer in northern Europe.

Up 'til now, at least, some experts have considered CWD pretty much unstoppable.

But a new study by a team of four researchers at the University of Alberta may have made a breakthrough.

While it's not clearly understood, soil seems to play a role in the horizontal spread of the disease. When an infected animal dies (see photo, below), its carcass sheds the harmful prion into the environment through its feces, saliva and urine.  

CWD is "shed" from infected deer and released from their carcasses. 
It can then "bind" to certain parts of the soil, and spread to healthy animals. 
Photo by Judd Aiken, 2018.
Then, it spreads to other, healthy animals, possibly when they graze. But, just as soil contributes to the problem, so, too, may it hold the solution. The research has found that, in mice, certain components in earth's organic matter, known as humic acids, actually degrade the prion responsible and reduce its ability to spread.
Near Grasslands Nat'l. Park, Saskatchewan.
A PinP photo.
But a lot of work lies ahead. 

In an e-mail, the lead author of the study, Dr. Judd Aiken, tells Planet in Peril, finding out how they can apply this new finding in practical ways, is a goal they intend to pursue. 

However, "We are not at the point where we are suggesting (or advocating) the use (of the beneficial effects of humic acids) to combat the environmental reservoirs of CWD infectivity. We are currently trying to identify the components of humic acids that have this ability to degrade prions."


Monday, November 12, 2018

Is Warming Bringing a Wave of New Diseases to Arctic Wildlife?

Rapid warming and vanishing sea ice in the Arctic has enabled new species, from humpback whales to white-tailed deer, to spread northward. Scientists are increasingly concerned that some of these new arrivals may be bringing dangerous pathogens that could disrupt the region’s fragile ecosystems. Details here.
White-tailed deer feed on hay-bales in Manitoba.
A PinP photo.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Drug-resistant microbes could threaten future global economy, low income countries in particular

Journal Club
A microbiologist examines the growth of a bacterial culture. 
A U.S. Food & Drug Administration photo. 
Antimicrobial resistance is not only a major public health threat, but also an economic one, according to researchers at The World Bank. Their new study, published in the journal World Development, suggests that an increase in drug-resistant microbes could cause millions more people to fall into extreme poverty within the next few decades. “Nobody has estimated the poverty effects before,” says study author Karen Thierfelder, an economics professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and consultant for The World Bank. “We’d like to make more people aware of the problem.” More here.

Also Read: "In Hogs We Trust."  

A critique of Manitoba’s “runaway” hog industry.

Worries Deepen That Another Deadly Hog Disease May Arrive in Canada

African Swine Fever in China Prompts Call for Review of Biosecurity on Canadian Farms

African Swine Fever has now been reported over a vast area in China. 
A PinP photo.
In light of this, Manitoba Pork is encouraging pork producers to reevaluate biosecurity. 
The virus affects pigs of all ages causing high mortality and, while it doesn't affect humans and isn't considered a food safety risk, it is highly transmissible, it is trade limiting and it is federally reportable.
 Jenelle Hamblin, the Manager of Swine Health Programs with Manitoba Pork, says the world is a smaller place than it once was with people and products moving in short amounts of time for many reasons.
Clip-Jenelle Hamblin-Manitoba Pork:
 As a sector we need to be normally aware of the people that are coming onto our premises and where they've been prior to coming but, in the case such as this, it's important to consider any overseas travel that may have occurred.
African swine fever has been found to live in products for many months therefore we also have to keep in mind any pork products that could potentially be coming into North America.
It would be a really good idea to review your biosecurity protocols with your veterinarian and your staff, talking about overseas travel of anyone coming onto your farm including staff, family members, any contracted workers or even going as far as considering exchange students if that's something your family participates in.
As well the food from other parts of the world.
Things that we could do to prevent bringing anything onto our premises is not bringing back food from overseas or not accepting gifts of food from overseas or from people coming from overseas and also never bringing any types of food scraps into your barn.
Also you could take a look at your feed ingredients and where they are originally being sourced from.
Lastly keeping on top of the developments that are happing in China in regards to African Swine Fever and being aware of what's happening in the sector.
Hamblin acknowledges containing the virus in China will be a challenge due to the varying range of biosecurity in place.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork.
Please also read: 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

New research confirms the common house fly spreads serious hog diseases. Is Manitoba's factory hog industry dragging its heels?

by Larry Powell
The house fly. Photo by USDA

A veterinarian at the Walcott Veterinary Clinic in Iowa, Grant Allison, captured flies at swine operations which had tested positive for both diseases in Iowa and Minnesota. In his words, "Flies replicate in moist conditions that could involve manure. So there's an intimate relationship between manure and viruses and flies. The idea that flies might be a possible vector was immediately obvious. We came up with a plan and started by finding an outbreak and trapping flies to see if the flies were positive."

They were.

Not only were they carrying live viruses for both diseases, they were spreading them to healthy pigs and making them sick. What's more, the flies were even found to be infectious in January, usually considered the off-season for such harmful vectors.

Dr. Allison recommends putting a larvicide in the hog feed as one tool in a program to achieve effective fly-control. He believes an extensive program of spraying or fogging would pose too many dangers to the health and safety of workers.

What he does not mention is using anaerobic digesters (ADs) as a possible means of tackling this very problem. These complex pollution control devices use microbes in the absence of oxygen to break down pathogens in slurry, the liquid waste of hogs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirms that, not only do ADs drastically reduce offensive slurry odour (making slurry less of an attractant), they "lower pesticide expenses because of reduced fly hatching."

Trouble is, at the behest of the hog industry that ADs are too expensive, the Manitoba Government last year removed a requirement that they be built along with any new barns. As a result, there is said to be not a single AD in operation anywhere in the province. And it's not believed there are any plans for any in the future, either.

Meanwhile, PEDv has ravaged Manitoba's hog population since a serious outbreak began over a year ago. While mortalities, especially among piglets, were obviously high, the industry won't give numbers. And the province says it doesn't know, because it doesn't keep track. 

The U.S. study was published in "Farm Journal's Pork" earlier this year.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Canadian study finds a pesticide-free way to combat mosquitos and West Nile

Researchers at the University of Waterloo may have discovered a new, pesticide-free way to limit mosquito populations in some area and reduce the spread of the West Nile virus. Story here.

A more detailed version of this study can be found here.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Climate change promotes the spread of mosquito and tick-borne viruses

The  mosquito that carries the Zeka virus.

Scientists find that global warming has allowed disease-bearing insects to proliferate, increasing exposure to viral infections. Story here.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Historical lead exposure may be linked to 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease in adults in the USA each year

New estimates suggest that 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease - including 185,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease - in the USA may be linked to historical lead exposure in middle-aged and older adults (people currently aged 44 years or over). This according to an observational study following 14,300 people for almost 20 years, published in The Lancet Public Health journal. More here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

In Hogs We Trust - Part 111.

by Larry Powell 

(Warning, the words and images in this story are graphic.)

We all know that farm animals can get sick. But how many of us are aware of just how damaging animal epidemics can be - whether on the other side of the world or on our own doorstep? They can and do cause huge economic losses and harm to the health of animals and humans, alike. And, there’s ample evidence that, for generations, the model we’ve been using to raise animals in confined, crowded conditions, only magnifies the problems. So why is the Manitoba government  prepared to risk even more of the same by massively expanding pork production in a province with an already-large industry? I hope this part of my series will move you, the reader, to ask, “How much worse must things get, before we change course?” 

Losses suffered globally due to diseases of livestock, are staggering. As the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) notes, "Some of the most lethal bugs affecting humans originate in our domesticated animals. Thirteen of these (formally called “zoonotics”) are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths per year. As more pigs and poultry are raised in concentrated spaces, especially in poorer countries, the risk of zoonotic disease rises. 

While the vast majority (of human casualties) are in low-and middle-income countries, the northeastern U.S. has emerged as a ‘hotspot,’ too!” Whatever the case, the authoritative Centers for Disease Contol in the States reminds us, we in developed countries, cannot afford to be complacent. On its website, the CDC proclaims, "We are living in an interconnected world where an outbreak of infectious disease is just a plane ride away." 

UPDATE: May 20, 2018:

It has recently been reported that the rare virus called Nipah has re-emerged in southern India, killing at least 11 people and causing more than 25 others to be hospitalized. Although global health officials consider this to be a relatively small outbreak, they’re worried. And while no cases have been reported in Canada, scientists with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have expressed similar concerns. 

Nipah is on the World Health Organization’s priority list of emerging diseases that could cause a global pandemic, alongside Zika and Ebola.

In 1999, Nipah claimed the lives of more than a hundred people in Malaysia and sickened almost 300 others. While fruit bats had probably been the initial carriers, the victims had all worked closely with pigs, which acted as intermediate hosts. To prevent the spread of the disease, more than a million hogs were euthanized, inflicting tremendous economic losses on the Malaysian economy.

Some of the diseases referred to here, including Nipah, have been known to infect those who take part in the Raaj, the largest annual religious pilgrimages in the world, where animals are sometimes sacrificed. 

While “zoonotics” have not been as common in Canada as elsewhere, the same cannot be said for diseases deadly to hogs - outbreaks which have proven - for much of North America - to be nothing short of rampant. 

In 2004, Canadian hog producers found themselves in the middle of a "major animal-health crisis, worldwide." A new variant of a disease called "Porcine CircoVirus-2 Associated Disease," (PCVAD), had infected Ontario’s swine herds with a vengeance. It seemed to closely resemble a strain that had been first identified in Saskatchewan 20 years earlier. And, not long before the Ontario outbreak, a similar kind disrupted pork production in parts of Asia and Europe, too. 

Lesions “of unprecedented severity” were inflaming the intestines, blood vessels, kidneys and spleen of Ontario herds. In some, fully half the pigs died. PCVAD had become “the dominant strain” infecting barns in both Ontario and Quebec. One study in the journal, “Veterinary Pathology” states, “In the space of less than two decades, this virus has gone from being a provincial oddity to one of the most economically important infectious agents in modern swine production.”

As the outbreak swept on to western Canada, animals were developing rasping coughs, diarrhea, pneumonia, fluid on the lungs, then dying. Within a few years, almost all of Canada’s pig farms had tested positive. As Ottawa put it at the time, “It severely affected the health and livelihood of the Canadian swine industry. Hundreds of producers faced financial ruin and pork processors laid off hundreds of staff. By 2009, the economic impact on the industry in North America had been estimated at more than $500m.” 

When it ended, PCVAD had claimed about 9% of this country’s swine herds. Based on a hog population of about 15 million at the time, we must have lost some 1.35 million animals. By 2007, the federal government had stepped in. At the request of producers, Ottawa gave them more than $62 million to help with the costs of an inoculation program. The government proclaimed, “The hog industry is (now) better prepared to face disease threats.”  

But, is it?

Last spring, another disease deadly to pigs moved into Manitoba, disrupting the industry to a degree perhaps not seen since the crisis 13 years earlier. Ominously dubbed “Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea” (PED), it infected hogs in scores of barns in southeastern Manitoba. Despite frantic efforts by barn owners and workers to control the infection, it had, by summer, found its way onto 90 farms. At this writing, 42 of those are now described as “PED-free,” once again. But these gains have come at a price. Industry sources confirm, during the struggle to contain the disease, it had become so rampant, and stress levels so high among workers trying to contain it, they were developing symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. That’s what our veterans get in combat! There have been no new cases since October. So, is the worst behind us? Or is the epidemic just “in remissionIn another part of the world, the European Union, at this writing, was on high alert. After an absence of decades, a deadly viral disease called African Swine Fever (ASF) “re-invaded” three years ago. It is threatening both EU farm pigs and wild boar, who are believed to carry the disease. Despite heroic attempts by Lithuania, an EU country, to keep it at bay along its border with Belarus, the fever moved in. Then, it swept westward into Poland, the Czech Republic and three Baltic States.  

 A recent study by the University of Manitoba suggests, eradicating the disease won’t be easy. The virus can become airborne and spread on the wind for up to 18 kilometres. It can also withstand cold weather, be spread by livestock trucks, and survive for up to nine months in the earthen storage lagoons which producers use to store the waste. That waste, called slurry, is often spread on farm fields as a fertilizer. (An American expert even says, a single tablespoon may be potent enough to infect tens of millions of animals.) 

No hard numbers are publicly available on just how many pigs the outbreak has claimed. But an official said, at one point during the summer, almost a million were "under surveillance." She did not elaborate.

PED causes the animals to spew watery vomit from one end and diarrhea from the other. (See above.) While some adults can survive, almost all infected piglets become severely dehydrated and die on about their fifth day.
Infected herds must be culled. 
Photo credit - Science Magazine.

In Estonia, 22 thousand hogs had to be destroyed. Pork prices collapsed and more than a third of Estonia’s hog farms went out of business. The disease is now raising alarm in hog-producing countries like Denmark and Germany. With pork exports there worth billions, the stakes are high. That’s because any country where an infection is confirmed, might lose those markets. 

The swelling around the kidneys and the muscle hemorrhages 
shown here as typical of pigs with African swine fever. 
Photo by Karen Apicelli USDA.
ASF was first reported in domestic pigs in eastern Africa in 1921. It is harmless to humans. But it kills up to 90% of pigs. They start to bleed inside. Blood sometimes gushes from their ears and flanks. Their lungs fill with fluids. They lose their appetite and energy, abort their young and die, suddenly, within ten days. The virus spreads through the secretions of sick animals. It can survive for long periods on workers’ clothes or hay, helping it move from farm to farm. It can travel even farther when contaminated pork is transported. Pigs or wild boar become infected if they eat the scraps.
Below is a video depicting the seriousness of ASF, produced by the European Food Authority.

In a different part of the world, “Public Health England” (PHE), a government agency, has recently estimated that up to 200 thousand residents of England and Wales are being infected each year with Hepatitis E (HepE), mainly from eating undercooked meat, including pork. HepE is often not serious, but can sometimes cause liver failure in pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems. There are conflicting reports on the seriousness of some 60 cases over the summer, traced to imported pork products sold at a major London supermarket. PHE claimed the risk to the public was small, although newspaper accounts at the time, stated there had, indeed, been serious illnesses. The HepE strain responsible has been on the increase in the area since 2010. 

In 2001, a research team in this country concluded, “Hepatitis E is highly prevalent in commercial swine populations in Canada and…may be an important zoonotic agent for humans.” Those findings, however, have since been disputed, or at least played down. 

Officials here in Manitoba have, correctly, been informing the public that the PED virus (responsible for the current outbreak here), “is not a human health or food safety concern.” 

But research by experts at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech did note that PED is also a coronavirus. That’s a family of pathogens, other members of which are “known to infect humans and other animals and cause respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases.” The three PED strains they isolated, likely evolved from bats in China. This, they conclude, “provides further support of the... potential for cross-species transmission.”

The lead author of that study, Dr. X.J. Meng, in an interview with me, hotly denied any suggestion that PED might cross over into humans. 

So, while PED is not a “zoonotic,” the same cannot be said for other coronaviruses.

One of them, “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” (MERS), claimed human lives in dozens of countries in and around the Arabian Peninsula after being confirmed in 2012. Humans can get it by drinking unpasteurized camels’ milk.

And another coronavirus, “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), took many lives in an epidemic in 2003, including 44 Canadians. Although the literature does not reveal any connection to hogs, much about the disease remains a mystery. These outbreaks (MERS and SARS), add the American researchers, “create further anxiety over the emergence of PED in the United States.” 

Early in 2009, the infamous “Swine flu” (H1N1) was first detected in Mexico.  By June of that year, the World Health Organization stopped counting cases and declared the outbreak a “pandemic.” When it was all over, human fatalities probably stood at about 285 thousand, mostly in Africa and southeast Asia. While the WHO still fears the disease may pose some threats in certain regions, it has declared it is now in a “post-pandemic period.”

Despite protests from hog producers and some politicians over the name, “Swine Flu” is not a misnomer. While it cannot be spread by eating pork, the virus contains five genes that normally circulate in pigs and is now considered a human influenza virus. Hogs infected with it were also found in three other countries, including Canada. And, yet another virus “of swine origin” was isolated in three people in Saskatchewan in 2010. All worked at the same large hog operation. 

So, are we taking livestock diseases seriously enough?

As the CDC cautions, "The more animals are kept in close quarters, the more likely it is that infection or bacteria can spread among them. Concentrated animal feeding operations or large industrial animal farms can cause a myriad of environmental and public health problemsAnd who will compensate for the huge economic losses which are sure to follow? Three guesses....


June 2nd, 2018,,,AN INDUSTRY UPDATE......

RELATED: "In Hogs We Trust."  

Part 1 - Antibiotic Overuse.

Part 11 - The Price we Pay for Corporate Hog$. 

Part 1V - The price we and our environment will pay for an expanded hog industry in Manitoba.

Part V - So what's behind Manitoba's crusade to rapidly expand industrial hog production. Click here and find out!

POSTSCRIPT: I have gleaned the above information from the most reliable sources I can find - government agencies, world health authorities, scientific research studies published in peer-reviewed journals and, in some cases, industry itself. But please consider this a “sampling,” rather than a complete chronicle. l.p. 

Unlike "ILOs," animals on this family farm in Manitoba get to bask in the sun,
breathe fresh air and roam in spacious pastures. 
PinP photo.

Diesel vehicles in oil sands operations contribute to regional pollution

EurekAlert Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been l...