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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

The Case of Big Farm and Big Pharm: A Tale of Two Piggies

Published 10/20/09
By Jessica Stout, Grassroots Coordinator

Today it was announced that the first case of Swine Flu was found in a pig in the United States. The poor little piggy victim was an entry at the Minnesota State Fair.

Of course now the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making sweeping statements stressing that other countries should not take this as a sign to stop importing our pork products, and that we as American citizens should not be alarmed at consuming these products.

I have to laugh a little every time the USDA makes the statement that we are fine to eat pork products, and then, in the same day, hear the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stress how important it is that we inject ourselves with a hastily-made vaccination that we need to have for the very detriment of our society and health. So just to recap: no really, it’s fine to eat pork products in this pandemic, but, for the love of God get vaccinated or we will all die!!

Looking closer at these two statements, I notice an interesting dynamic. Two major, deep-pocketed industries stand to lose a lot of money if the two pieces of aforementioned advice are not heeded. In one corner we have Big Pharm, scaring us all into buying their product. And in the other corner we have Big Farm, scared that we will stop buying their product. If we stop eating pork, then Big Farm, the very farms responsible for keeping their pigs in dirty, overcrowded, disease-spreading conditions, stand to lose a lot of money.

As it stands now, China and Russia already hastily restricted pork product imports from the US and Mexico at the start of this pandemic; what could happen now that we have an actual confirmed case of the virus in a pig? And if we don’t get vaccinated, then Big Pharmacy loses out on all of those profits for the vaccinations on which they hastily beefed-up in the wake of this outbreak.

I was particularly struck by this when I came across this article from the UK about the Swine Flu and the Swine Flu vaccine. I was interested in the complete lack of fear-mongering and vaccine-pushing that was occurring on that side of the pond. Interestingly, this is where medicine is socialized and so pharmaceutical companies are not as likely to try and put their greasy little hands in the big pot of overpriced products and fear-inducing propaganda.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not in any way an endorsement for, or against, socialized medicine. More, it’s an interesting look at just how easily the public is fed the information that has the biggest financial interest.

If we can see how much we Americans are being fed a big spoonful of hysteria so we rush right down and get that vaccination and pad Big Pharm’s pockets, then how can we trust the statement that we can go ahead and consume those pork products without fear of what will, or could, happen? Sure, the virus right now seems to pose no threat but, last time I checked, viruses mutate and I would hate to see the poor person who is on the receiving end of “Swine Flu du Jour.”

Further, admitting that these animals are a threat to public consumption is admitting that our farming practices are sub-par. If it is proven that keeping farm animals in those overcrowded and filthy conditions is a general public health risk, then that opens up a lot of questions as to the state of what we are allowing in our factory farming industry; a practice that, at only a little over 100 years old and more prevalent in the last 50 years, is still quite young. With the age of technology constantly producing ways to most efficiently keep animals in confinement at high stocking density, are we only then also finding more ways to introduce contaminated and diseased meat into the population?

At the end of the day, it comes down to money. With the USDA in Big Farm’s corner, and the FDA in Big Pharm’s corner, do we just have two governing agencies giving a lot of statements and advice for the best interest of their bank accounts, and not public interest? Has greed outweighed well-being? All I know is that when I turn on the nightly news and hear the latest Swine Flu propaganda, all I see are two groups of big pigs; and they are not of the porcine variety.

Blogging off,


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