Thursday, April 30, 2009

The stupid, it burns ...

... over at New Scientist. It appears that Debora MacKenzie suffers from a lack of reading comprehension ...
So what are we to make of US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack saying: "There is no evidence or reports that US swine have been infected with this virus"?
This quote comes directly from Secretary Vilsack's release to the public about the safety of pork for human consumption, Release No. 0137.09. Taken in context, it reads as follows:
"I want to reiterate that U.S. pork is safe. While we in the U.S. are continuing to monitor for new cases of H1N1 flu, the American food supply is safe.

There is no evidence or reports that U.S. swine have been infected with this virus. USDA is reminding its trading partners that U.S. pork and pork products are safe and there is no basis for restricting imports of commercially produced U.S. pork and pork products.

This is not an animal health or food safety issue. This discovery of the H1N1 flu virus is in humans. Any trade restrictions would be inconsistent with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.
Regardless, Secretary Vilsack is correct, as far as I know when he says that there is no link between this current H1N1 virus and American swine. Whether or not it was ever in American swine is irrelevant, because that particular strain (or more likely strains) didn't jump from pigs to humans. If you compare those strains to the current strain causing all these problems, there will no doubt be some major differences which will explain why the former wasn't deadly to humans, and the latter is.

What is even more amusing is one of the comments, obviously made by a PETA member (MarkInColumbus), where he rants incessantly about "Animal Agriculture". It seems that he wants to wipe all animals off the face of the planet because they're evil ... with their belching and farting of methane, their propensity to drink water, and their ability to cause cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes by transfixing their big bovine/swine/ovine gaze upon poor defenseless humans.

Jimminy Christmas!

And damn the animals to hell, why do we need them? I mean, we can just convert fossil fuels into ammonia and use it for fertilization ... I mean that won't hurt the environment none. No sir!

Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

Words of wisdom MarkInColumbus, words of wisdom.

Oh, and it appears that Debora MacKenzie likes blaming random animals for our viral woes. In 2006 she blamed migratory birds (geese in particular - the damned fowl) for spreading H5N1, and blamed ornithologists for being complict in their denial of the facts. Gee, sounds sort of like a regurgitation of this latest story, no?

ETA: Time has a piece on pigs and H1N1 as well: Don't Blame the Pig.

ETA2: Two hours later and they have not posted my response to MarkInColumbus.

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