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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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Swine Flu Not Working For Local Farmers

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With the passing scare causing concern across the country and world, the wording is causing problems for farmers everywhere. The real name is H1N1 virus, but between the slaughtering of all the pigs across Egypt, bans on exports of live pigs or pork meat imposed by 15 nations, including Russia, China, Thailand and Indonesia, and pig faced symbols, it’s hitting the hog farmers right in their pocketbook. The Fillipinos even stopped Manny Pacquiao from returning from Las Vegas after his win over Ricky Hatton because there had been reported cases in town .

A local farmer told me that he would have been better off slaughtering his heard after the recent drop in sales. It’s even become a political football with politicians finding it easier to use swine references.

As a $15 billion a year business, this is a very expensive choice of words. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been urging health officials to ditch the name “swine flu,” pointing out that people can’t get the virus from pigs. Lat week the World Health Organization dropped the shorthand name, the European Union adopted the name “novel flu,” while the Canadian Health Ministry is considering a petition by the Canadian Pork Council rename the virus “North American flu.”

Pork consumption suffered a double-digit decline last week and farmers saw prices for pigs fall by more than 10 percent. Everything seems to be due to fears raised by the wording. As a result, the National Pork Producers Council has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase additional pork. In Canada, there are even suggestions that maybe a hog got the flu from a worker. Looking at everything the evidence seems clear that the consumer can’t get the flu from eating pork. So wash those hands, stay home if you are sick, and go ahead and have that pork chop.