Friday, May 1, 2009

In which Tim comments on Swine Flu...

I logged onto the web today to check email, and I was bombarded with messages from friends and family asking me about this swine flu that seems to be all the rage in America right now.  I promise, my health is fine.  I have no pig related illnesses. 

I deal with pigs all the time.  I chased one out of my yard this morning.  I've never gotten sick from them, although I see how one could.  If I spent my time handling pigs at close quarters (which many of my neighbors do) and neglected to wash my hands (which is common around here) I would expect an illness much worse than a little bit of flu.  Pigs are dirty and rude.  Any illiterate Dominican peasant could tell you that.  They are not at all like the fluffed up little things you see in movies like "Babe".  America seems shocked that these animals could be carrying disease.  

We shouldn't be surprised when we consider the fact that we make these animals live packed together in cement boxes, wallowing in their own feces and eating food that they were never meant to eat.  And when they get sick, we pump them full of antibiotics, killing weak viruses but possibly allowing stronger ones to thrive.  I am no scientist, but this sounds like an ideal situation for the evolution of new forms of disease.

I guess I don't see what the big deal is with the pig fever.  This thing is all over the news, but fewer than 500 people have gotten sick.  I think only one person has died.  When was the last time you read a news story (or a twitter post, for that matter) about the 15 million children who died of hunger last year?  Maybe we should talk about that instead.  Or maybe it would just make us feel bad about ourselves.  It's not quite as exciting as sick pigs.

Regardless of how uncomfortable we may be in talking about it, world wide deaths from AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and good old starvation are many.  Let's tone down the talk about the pig flu and start solving the real problems.

1 comment:

Shadiddy said...

FANTASTIC post...I hope lots of ppl read it and pay attention!

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