Swine: It’s not a virus, it’s dinner

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Where others see a looming pandemic, the Australian crocodile meat industry sees only opportunity.

No, you can’t get swine flu from eating pork chops, but if you’re nervous, Aussie croc farmers would be happy to introduce you to the other white meat. …

China, Russia, the Philippines and several other countries have banned pork imports from the U.S. and Mexico, despite assurances from the World Health Organization that the disease can’t be transmitted from hog to human. …

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

American pig farmers complain that some countries are just happy for an excuse to enact emergency trade barriers that benefit their own farmers. …

All of this could prove disastrous to the U.S. pork industry. …

A truth-in-labeling campaign launched by the pork producers met with resistance at first.

But then Nebraska, which has a whole lot of pig farmers, broke ranks with the rest of the world, calling the virus by its scientific name, H1N1.

Within days, U.S. health officials had adopted the name, while the European Commission had settled on the puzzling “novel virus.”

On Thursday, the WHO announced that it would go with H1N1, to avoid confusion and to prevent the unnecessary slaughter of perfectly good pigs.

It won’t be easy to get that hog back in the barn, though.

H1N1 doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and folks have gotten used to using the term “swine flu,” as we’ve done several times in this editorial.

It’s time we all stopped dragging the pig’s reputation through the mud.

Swine: It’s not a virus. It’s what’s for dinner.

— Chicago Tribune