Archive for Smithfield

Collateralized Farmers

Posted in Ecological resilience, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2014 by Rob Wallace

In the course of his sensational exposé of Big Meat, of which I’m still in the midst, Christopher Leonard falls upon both a solution to a mystery central to influenza epizoology and a foundational admission on the part of the poultry industry.

It’s common knowledge that agribusiness are vertically integrated. All nodes of poultry or pig production are placed here in the States under each of the Big Five’s roofs. Cargill, Smithfield, JBS Swift, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Tyson raise their birds and hogs and beef from fertilization to freezer.

But that isn’t quite correct. “There is one link in the chain that Tyson [much as the other companies] has decided not to own,” Leonard writes, Continue reading

The Agro-Industrial Roots of Swine Flu H1N1

Posted in Evolution, Influenza with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2009 by Rob Wallace

Mexico appears ground zero for an outbreak of deadly human-specific H1N1.

Of the over 1400 people that have been reportedly infected there so far, 86 have died. Short chains of transmission of the virus have also been reported in California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, New York City, Canada and New Zealand. The virus has been identified as a new recombinant of influenza A (H1N1).

The World Health Organization has labeled the new strain potentially pandemic and the US has declared a public health emergency. Of great concern, and perhaps a marker of the seriousness of the outbreak, the deaths in Mexico, as in pandemics of eras past, appear concentrated among the young and healthy. In contrast, the mortality associated with most seasonal influenzas falls heaviest upon infants and the elderly.

Researchers have over the past several years hypothesized that a healthy and responsive immune system may explain the greater mortality among patients 20-40 years infected with highly pathogenic influenza.

Continue reading