Bad press for pigs depressing for pork farmers

New Zealand pig farmers are already concerned about the impact imports of pork and associated products will have on their business and now they’re worried that swine flu will put people off bacon, ham and pork altogether.

It’s already happening in the USA where the price of pigs has fallen and  several countries have taken the opportunity the outbreak offers to impose non-tarrif barriers by banning imports from Mexico and parts of the USA.

As goNZo Freakpower  noted:

You can’t get pig flu from eating pork, but banning imports does help favour domestic interests.

But fear doesn’t worry too much about the facts and if people are worried about swine flu they might take the better safe than sorry approach to pig meat regardless of where it comes from.

The European Union Health Commission is trying to stem the tide against pork by changing the flu’s name:

“Not to have a negative effect on our industry, we decided to call it novel flu from now on,” European Union Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou told reporters in Brussels.

I don’t think that will work. Swine flu strikes me as a very appropriate name for an illness which, what ever you call it is a pig of a thing and has already given rise to a rash of jokes .

Not that it’s a laughing matter and the over reaction in Egypt where an order has been made to cull all pigs  is no joke.

It’s not going to stop the spread of the virus and while it will certainly reduce the supply of pig meat, fear of flu will also depress demand – even though there is no risk of infection from eating pork.

There’s no comfort in that for pig farmers here, but their loss may lead to gains for sheep and beef farmers. Lamb sales increased when outbreaks of BSE put people off beef and people who stop eating pork because of swine flu might turn to beef and lamb instead.

4 Responses to Bad press for pigs depressing for pork farmers

  1. Lambcut says:

    Mass hysteria knows no common sense. Roarprawn has just blogged that 400,000 pigs are to be slaughtered in Egypt! Daft stuff.

  2. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    You might find a little self righteous Islamic culture at work here with the pandemic used as an excuse.

  3. Lambcut says:

    Yup, Adolf, I take a more than average interest in the Middle East having friends and business interests there. It has the wiff of the brothers playing silly buggers in a way that is probably unrelated to any hysteria about the flu.

  4. Lambcut says:

    What I commented on Roarprawn was:

    It won’t worry the 90 percent of Egypt’s population which is Muslim. Muslims feel the same about pork as Jews do. The rest of Egypt’s population are mostly Coptic Christians. Having said that, there are 3 mil Copts and they are going to be short of a pork roast on Sundays.

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