Tuesday, April 28, 2009
One theory about the swine flu which is quickly gaining traction is that the flu was spread by flies swarming around the hog manure ponds at the giant Granjas Carrol hog farm in Vera Cruz, Mexico. Granjas Carrol, which is partly owned by Smithfield Foods - the world's largest hog company - raises 950,000 hogs per year at the facility.
On these industrial-scale hog farms, pigs are jammed together so tightly that they can barely turn around. There are so many of them that they produce many tons of manure, which is just dumped into giant open ponds.
This is the Wall Street of hog farming. On both Wall Street and at giant meat production farms, the hogs feed at the public trough.
On hog farms, as with Wall Street:
- A couple of giant companies dominated the landscape
- Regulators allowed the companies to run amok
- The companies went "hog wild", knowing that governments would pick up the pieces if things crashed
- The profits were privatized, and the losses socialized. In the case of the hog farms, the profits from the mega-farms were pocketed by the companies, while the costs of the swine flu epidemic will be borne by the taxpayers. The hog farms dumped huge amounts of manure into their local communities, which sickened not only the locals, but caused a global health problem. Similarly, the Wall Street giants cranked out trillions in "toxic assets" that the nations of the world and their taxpayers are now being asked to clean up
As one blogger wrote:
Agribusiness needs to be held accountable. They are following the same rules as bankers; keep the profits and dump losses (in the form of mad cow or now swine flu) on the public. Factor in a few million dead and maybe locally produced food from small farms is not so expensive after all.