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News Section Icon Published 11/05/2009

Compassion in World Farming analysis shows evidence of risk to human health posed by factory pig farms.

Our report ( 59.60KB) analysed the latest scientific opinion on the significant risks posed to human health as a result of farming pigs in unnatural and inhumane conditions.

Several scientific sources report links between the current swine flu outbreak and the 1998 outbreak which became widespread throughout North American factory farms.

A number of independent research bodies including The Pew Commission, The US Council for Agriculture, Science and Technology and The American Public Health Association have warned of the public health risks resulting from industrialized animal agriculture.

Scientists have been aware of the risk of a swine flu pandemic for many years. The current H1N1 virus is similar to swine viruses that have been circulating in the United States since the 1990s and it is understood to have genetic components that are very similar to the H3N2 type virus which struck a North Carolina pig farm in 1998 and became widespread throughout North American factory farms.

In the UK, swine flu is not recognised as a notifiable disease, nor do global animal disease control authorities require notification. There are no formal national surveillance systems in the majority of swine-producing countries.

Philip Lymbery, our Chief Executive said: "This pandemic is a global wake-up call. The scientific and public health communities have known for years that the cramped and squalid conditions on factory farms can present a significant danger to human health. Intensive farming is cruel and unnatural. These appalling industrial facilities are at odds with the most fundamental principles of animal health and welfare - and could potentially be a threat to the welfare of the consumer."



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