The Swine Flu Crisis Lays Bare the Meat Industry's Monstrous Power

05/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For years now global health experts have been warning that a flu pandemic was overdue - a new strain would emerge to which there is little immunity causing widespread epidemics. The fear has been that a pandemic could cause tens of millions of deaths and official predictions here suggest the death toll in the UK could range between 50,000 and 750,000. This is why there is so much concern about the spread of swine flu, but the plain fact is that no-one knows yet whether this is the virus which will trigger the first pandemic since 1968. The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), in north London, is one of only five World Health Organisation collaborating centres for influenza research. 2

The Mexican swine flu, a genetic chimera probably conceived in the faecal mire of an industrial pigsty, suddenly threatens to give the whole world a fever. The initial outbreaks across North America reveal an infection already travelling at higher velocity than did the last official pandemic strain, the 1968 Hong Kong flu. Given that domesticated seasonal type-A influenzas kill as many one million people a year, even a modest increment of virulence, especially if combined with high incidence, could produce carnage equivalent to a major war. 1

  1. The Swine Flu Crisis Lays Bare the Meat Industry's Monstrous Power (The Guardian)
  2. Task Ahead (BBC)