A good article in the Washington Post about Perote and Smithfield farms.
Health officials have found no connection between the pig farms, owned and operated by Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, and the flu virus that paralyzed Mexico for much of the past two weeks. But the crisis, which appears to be abating, has inflamed tensions between the world’s largest hog producer and the poor neighboring communities here that have long warned that the farms are a danger to their health.
And they never will find a “connection”, but that does not mean the outbreak did not start in Veracruz. There will be studies done, but without an international team that can invest serious time, the reuslts will be suspect, by most Mexicans, and the world.
On a good note, politicians are backtracking on their support for the farms, and the complaints of local communities are being heard.
Smithfield for it’s part says it is a case of mistaken identity. From a Daily Press article:
The company’s CEO said the team, and a pending series of genetic tests on hogs raised at the massive Granjas Carroll operation, would likely clear Smithfield of any involvement in the spawning or spread of swine flu.
C. Larry Pope said Smithfield hired consultants from the University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University to be “an extra set of eyes.”
“We want an open process here because we feel like this is something we have absolutely no responsibility for, and there is no one in the world who says we do except a couple of locals who have started something,” Pope said, referring to villagers in La Gloria, a town near the Mexican hog farm. “We find a little boy in southern Mexico who gets sick, there happens to be a Smithfield facility close to that, boom, we have the linkage by some people’s standards.”