Source: SAFE NZ
Earlier this week, researchers in China revealed they had found a new strain of H1N1 swine flu which they say has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”
New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said this morning that discovering new viruses isn’t “uncommon,” and that we have to keep an eye out for them.
SAFE Director of Campaigns Ilan Goldberg said the fact that this virus has been found in pigs and pig farmers is no coincidence.
“The next pandemic is very likely to come to us by way of intensively farmed pigs or chickens, with the help of cattle.”
Disease can easily run rampant in intensive farms, where high numbers of genetically similar animals are confined closely together, favouring the emergence of new viruses through mutation. These new virus strains may then cross the species barrier to infect farm workers.
“We don’t want to be ready for the next pandemic. We want to prevent it,” says Goldberg. “The best way to do that is to curb our insatiable desire for animal products and transition towards an ecologically sustainable, plant-based future.”
SAFE is New Zealand’s leading animal rights organisation.
We’re working towards a world where animals are understood and respected in such a way that they are no longer exploited, abused or made to suffer.
Notes for editors:
– Earlier this week, researchers in China revealed they had found a new strain of swine flu – referred to as G4 EA H1N1.