Cost of swine flu continues to mount, extending to further human and financial toll. - 29 May 2010  
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In his most recently released book, "Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment," US award-winning and bestselling investigative journalist David Kirby documents his two years of research and interviews that reveal the adverse health and environmental impacts of meat-producing factory farms on all of our lives.

The book was written to draw urgent attention to the sometimes hidden but far-reaching costs of meat consumption.

David Kirby – US bestselling investigative journalist (M): The transportation of the animals, which is not only a horrible animal welfare issue -- sometime these animals are 10, 12, 24 hours at a time on these trucks night and day, in cold and hot weather; they can’t sit down, they can’t sleep, they’re going to the bathroom on themselves; it’s completely inhumane -- but they are also shedding virus and bacteria.

If you’ve ever driven behind a chicken truck, you’ve seen the dust and feathers and fecal, and everything, just, I mean it’s like it’s snowing sometimes, there’s so much stuff coming at you. I know scientists in Maryland who go out and follow the chicken trucks and catch some of that air, and sure enough they’re finding multi-drug resistant bacteria. A lot of modern-day diseases originated, at least in part, in factory farms.

VOICE: Regarding the deadly 2009 swine flu pandemic, which continues to claim lives young and old globally, Mr. Kirby confirmed its origin in a novel virus that emerged on one US pig factory farm in 1998 and spread nationwide within a week.

David Kirby (M): It turns out, six of the eight viral components in the current novel H1N1 virus are traced back to that hog farm in North Carolina.

When I talk about the hidden cost of food, you have to take into account something like swine flu, which cost the world billions and billions and billions of dollars, and thousands and thousands of lives, and all kinds of disruption, and buying a vaccine that nobody wanted.

And if you add up those billions of dollars and divide it by three hundred million, every single American and citizen of the world were paying for those pork chops from 1998. We’re paying the bill, still, and we’ll be paying it for a long time.

VOICE: Our deep appreciation Mr. David Kirby for your concerned and dedicated journalism that is alerting us to the realities of meat consumption that cause immeasurable suffering in health and other areas of our lives.
May we rethink the impact of our every food choice and to prevent even worse tragedies by quickly adopting the humane goodness of plant-based fare.