Warning! This post is very old and may contain information or opinions that are no longer valid or embarrassing.
Killing 300,000 thousand innocent Egyptian pigs to prevent the swine flu from jeopardising our health is the most gruesome act of unjustifiable killing of animals I will ever witness.
The swine influenza type A (H1N1) is now a human transmissible virus of swine origin i.e. it spreads from a sick person to another healthy one through coughing and sneezing. Although, it originated from pigs in Mexico and infected humans the role of pigs in the spread of infection now is minimal, specifically non-infected pigs in Egypt.
I am not a specialist in matters of public health and how infections spread. But there are stuff that if you thought about for a second or two will really makes sense.
Swine flu will enter Egypt through its borders and not from pigs. The funds that will go in compensating farmers can be better directed to improve the appalling sanitation of the pig farms and the conditions of their farmers not to the eradication of a local variety of an entire specie.
This virus is susceptible to two types of anti-viral treatments, which is a great thing to start with. This means that if the medicine is available and cases are diagnosed early on. We can minimise the fatalities.
The decisions to kill huge amounts of birds in south east Asia during the early outbreak of the birds flu was justified by the fact that the disease was spreading between birds, birds can fly and thus spread it quickly across the globe and the disease spread from birds to humans and not human to human as the swine flu. Killing birds and other attempts to control bird flu was of limited success.
I am not also sure that there is a standard procedure that will ensure that pigs die in a merciful way nor a procedure to deal with the tons of corpses that will result. Which in itself might spread other diseases.
A pig is like a cat, rabbit or cow. And a decision like this, although popular, is unethical and violates the animal's rights. Not to mention, that lots of sectarian zeal is behind this.
I wonder if there will ever be an ethical committee in the Parliament one day to stop stupid decisions like that.
UPDATE: I found this article that quotes a UN Food and Agriculture Officer regarding the killing of pigs:
Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary office with the UN Food and Agriculture Officer in Rome, said the Egyptian order was "a real mistake".
"There is no reason to do that. It’s not a swine influenza, it’s a human influenza,” he said.