The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
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).
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).
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