Monday, April 27, 2009

A bright side to the hype surrounding swine fever?

You would have thought that this morning's news regarding swine fever and its possible importation into New Zealand via Rangitoto College students was enough to put a damper on anybodies week.

Not so for all farmers, with one beaming cocky telling Farmgirl this morning that there could be an immeasurable bright side to the flu hysteria - increased lamb sales around the world as people baulk at buying pork meat.

He has a point. The poor old pig farmer is on a hiding to nothing when the media get involved and hysteria reaches historic proportions.

Yes swine fever is generally contracted from direct contact with pigs but in these circumstances the UN have been careful to publicise the fact that none of those infected have had direct contact. Alas this gets lost in the publicity siege.
The strain, H1N1, is the same strain that causes seasonal flu outbreaks in humans, but the detected version contains genetic material from versions of flu which usually affect pigs and birds.
Regardless of the facts Farmers Weekly UK report that Governments across the world are considering tightening rules on pork imports while Russia and Serbia have already banned any pork products from entering their country.
You have to feel sorry for pig farmers who will once again be the focus of a panic backlash but as the farmer told Farmgirl this morning, 'always look on the bright side of life'.
Can't you just see wonderful advertisements on television and in the newspapers around the world now: "Eat Kiwi lamb and stay indoors this year if you want to avoid the flu." Mmmm....the bank account is increasing already...

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