The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

June 2009

Swine Flu


As of May 10, 2009, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was reporting that there had been 2532 confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States and three deaths (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/). Describing the situation, they posted:

The ongoing outbreak of novel influenza A (H1N1) continues to expand in the United States. CDC expects that more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths from this outbreak will occur over the coming days and weeks (ibid).

The disease outbreak apparently started in Mexico with the first confirmed case being the illness of a small boy who lives near a commercial pig-raising operation. Regarding the source of the virus, Wired reported,

Scientists have traced the genetic lineage of the new H1N1 swine flu to a strain that emerged in 1998 in U.S. factory farms, where it spread and mutated at an alarming rate. Experts warned then that a pocket of the virus would someday evolve to infect humans, perhaps setting off a global pandemic.

The new findings challenge recent protests by pork industry leaders and U.S., Mexican and United Nations agriculture officials that industrial farms shouldn't be implicated in the new swine flu, which has killed up to 176 people and on Thursday was declared an imminent pandemic by the World Health Organization ("Swine Flu Ancestor Born on U.S. Factory Farms" www.wired.com, May 1, 2009).

One commentator observed:

The number of animals on the planet has increased by nearly 40 per cent in the past 40 years, but instead of being dispersed across countryside these food units are increasingly concentrated into compact industrial blocks. The number of pigs has trebled to two billion. There are now two chickens for every human.

Industrialised food production has changed the world's diet, providing a cheap and plentiful form of protein. Yet it comes not only at a moral and environmental cost but also in terms of world health: the silent germs mutating and evolving amid the filth.

Factory farming is necessary to feed a hungry world. But doing so without also unleashing new diseases requires far more global co-operation on biosecurity, much tighter international regulation of the meat trade and, above all, a change in the way we produce animals for food. Mass-produced meat can kill you, even if you never eat it. ...

Today the world is once again under attack from infectious diseases. The latest plague does not come from God, or from other planets. It does not simply come from infectious animals and rogue microbes. It also comes from Man ("And after much effort, Man created swine flu," Ben Macintyre in The Times [of London], Apr. 30, 2009).

The necessity of factory farming of animals may not in fact be necessary to feed the world population. Many may want animal foods, but whether they really need that type of food is another question. Note this pronouncement:

Thirty-five years ago the US Department of Agriculture said we should daily eat from four food groups: 1. meat, fish and poultry; 2. grains; 3. dairy products; and 4. fruits and vegetables.

On April 9, 1991 the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, [see http://www.pcrm.org] a prestigious non-profit organization active in health and research policy and based in Washington, D.C., said basing our diet on those groups not only will not ensure adequate nutrition, consumption of meat, fish, poultry and dairy products actually causes disease.

Instead PCRM recommends a "New Four Food Groups." They are: 1. fruits; 2. grains; 3. vegetables; and 4. legumes ("U.S. Physicians Say Meat Not Necessary, Actually Harmful," http://www.flex.com/~jai/articles/nomeatht.html, n.d, but copyright 1997).

Inspired commentary

The Bible has something specific to say about using swine for food:

and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch (Leviticus 11:7, 8).

They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD (Isa. 66:17).

Gay Marriage Advances

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Maine's governor signed a freshly passed bill Wednesday approving gay marriage, making it the fifth state to approve the practice and moving New England closer to allowing it throughout the region.

New Hampshire legislators were also poised to send a gay marriage bill to their governor, who hasn't indicated whether he'll sign it. If he does, Rhode Island would be the region's sole holdout.

The Maine Senate voted 21-13, with one absent, for a bill that authorizes marriage between any two people rather than between one man and one woman, as state law currently allows. ...

Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, who hadn't previously indicated how he would handle the bill, signed it shortly afterward. In the past, he said he opposed gay marriage but supported civil unions, which provide many benefits of marriage ("Maine Governor Signs Bill Allowing Gay Marriage" The Associated Press on www.foxnews.com, May 6, 2009).

Inspired commentary

An ancient Bible prophet still speaks to our times about what God thinks about sin:

Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance. Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour's wife: and shall ye possess the land? Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed (Ezekiel 33:24-29).

Fires in Santa Barbara


A fire in Santa Barbara, California, was in the news recently:

At least 77 homes have been destroyed since the fire broke out May 5. It has damaged 22 others, cost $9 million to fight, injured 28 firefighters and forced the evacuation of approximately 30,000 people to safer ground. ...

Officials said Sunday the blaze was apparently was sparked by someone using a power tool to clear brush last Tuesday on private land near the Jesusita Trail and sought public help in identifying the culprit.

The fire moved slowly through high, dry brush until "sundowner" evening winds gusting to 50 mph drove it into multimillion-dollar homes on coastal hillsides ringing Santa Barbara ("Santa Barbara evacuees return home after wildfire," www.washingtonpost.com, May 11, 2009).

Inspired commentary

Bigger fires are coming:

The tempest is coming, and we must get ready for its fury, by having repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth. We shall see troubles on all sides. ... Fires will break out unexpectedly, and no human effort will be able to quench them (Messages to Young People, p. 89, 90).





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