Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I really am hesitant to post this comment.  But...

I think most of us here would agree with the following:
Forcing animals to live in inhumane conditions is unethical.
The overuse/preventative use of anti-biotics in animals to compensate for the unsanitary conditions they are forced to live in is dangerous.
NAFTA and the mechanisms of globalization allow corporations to take advantage of countries where labor and safety standards are low for the benefit of countries where many many people enjoy high standards of labor and safety, promoting inequality.
The panic among the media and the public is disproportional to the actual probability of deathly illness from H1N1.

For me personally, it is a significant leap of rationality from these assessments to the conspiracy theory advanced in this diary.  I think we need some historical perspective.  Pandemics are neither new nor made-up media phenomena.  But they have been used by people to advance their own sketchy belief systems.  And to remember that correlation does not prove causation.  The idea that the media hype is some attempt to distract us from the issue of factory farming and NAFTA is something I don't buy.  I think the media hype is more about ratings, people - including journalists - not understanding, fear of the unknown, and authorities who would rather be safe than sorry.  

No doubt the conditions of factory farming create a petri dish for bacteria and viruses.  But so do hospitals and school cafeterias.  I have a feeling vegetarians are trying to use H1N1 the way a Christian Scientists would use MRSA to say "I told ya so."  I feel conflicted saying this because I don't support inhumane factory farming.  

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Fri May 1st, 2009 at 11:39:14 AM EST
You beat me to it..

So count two in all counts

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 1st, 2009 at 12:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pandemics aren't new phenomena because the science to prevent them wasn't available.

When no one understood that rats and fleas spread plague, plague seemed very mysterious. Now that we're more aware of how plague spreads, we've worked hard to minimise the risk.

But suddenly this process stops in certain situations because it becomes 'uneconomic' to manage animal farming humanely.

This is a lie. As with banking, the disasters that follow from not doing the job properly are far more destructive - and uneconomic - than being mature and considered about the issue.

The idea that it's 'uneconomic' to treat workers and animals humanely is a kind of plague itself. So far we haven't tackled it rationally. Until we do, disasters and inhumanity will continue.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 1st, 2009 at 01:37:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I'm not a vegetarian :-)

but biotically speaking, monocultures are pathogenic and eventually futile.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri May 1st, 2009 at 01:44:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I beg pardon poemless, my original post was a bit sloppy.  I didn't mean that the flu was "invented" or fictional -- neither deliberately released, nor a story deliberately concocted to distract us from the disaster of corporate ag;  I see that my careless wording could give that impression.  Not what I meant :-)

I meant that the media coverage of the flu, like all corporate media coverage, is all about bandaids and authority (control, protect, contain, "make war on" a problem) and/or individual survivalism (special: what you can do to protect yourself from lethal foreign viruses!) and never about root causes (understanding and preventing a problem).  So the media coverage distracts us from contemplating the root causes of disease and public health problems generally;  much as the "race for the cure" hoopla, little pink ribbons, breathless PRs about "gene therapy," stern lifestyle advice and various other distraction tactics work to keep us from asking hard-nosed questions about connections between industrial toxicity and geopositionally clustered cancer rates.  

As to conspiracy, I think my old Conspiracy Theory LQD kinda says it all.  The conspiracy of wealth and power protecting itself is always with us;  the meat industry owns a lot of politicians, and the corporadoes who own the media are very good friends with their advertisers, and so it goes.

A Killer Disease Scare is always good for attracting eyeballs and ears to media, as advertisers know all too well.  At a time when awkward questions are being asked about the power and corruption of the corporate barons, some non-banking-related headlines are probably not unwelcome among our masters.  I think there's some selective headlining going on (as always); and that when you get beneath the big bold headlines, the way the story is being told is carefully avoiding the problem of risk origin, i.e. the very risky practises of corporate agriculture undertaken in the confident expectation that all costs will be borne by the taxpayer if the risk goes wrong.

The idea that risk can be palmed off on some other country (particularly one w/which one shares a land border) is part of this fiction of "externality" which afflicts paleo-economics.  Viruses know no borders, neither does a destabilised climate or pollen drift or pollution (water or air or whatever).  The idea of hermetically sealed borders and "containment" is an authoritarian fantasy:  borders are arbitrary fictions and all membranes are porous one way or another.  So I do think that NAFTA and other arrangements that have made it easier for corporations to "save money" by operating with lousy personal hygiene in one (poor) country, in order to show big profits to stockholders in another (rich) country, is foolish, ignorant, and highly vulnerable to blowback of all kinds.  The world is far from flat, and the winds blow all around it and back home again.  What Smithfield does in Mexico will come home to Americans and indeed to the whole world;  what we do to animals in CAFOs will come home to humans.  In the real world, it can hardly be otherwise.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Fri May 1st, 2009 at 07:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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