Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine flu? Kill the piggies!

Whenever you have outbreaks of mysterious, potentially deadly diseases, it's extremely important to stay rational and not overreact. For example, you can see Egypt's extremely logical decision to slaughter all 300,000 of its pigs.

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Aside from the obvious point that we have human to human transmission now, so new infection from pigs isn't exactly the problem...but how do they think actively slaughtering all of their pigs is actually going to reduce contact with pigs? Doesn't the act of slaughtering actually increase contact with pigs? Since you kind of need to touch them in order to chop them up and all?

I feel bad that so many animals are going to die because a government decides to overreact about a situation. Yes, they would have eventually been killed for food anyway. And the government is still allowing the farmers to sell the pork meat...but is anyone going to actually buy it? Look at the economics of the issue - it's all about supply and demand (the one thing I remember from AP Econ!). Suddenly there's going to be insane amount of pork in the market, with very low demand. 90% of Egypt is Muslim and can't eat pork anyway, the other 10% are probably silly enough to think you can get swine flu from eating pork or will probably just be sick of eating pork for every meal of the day. These farmers are going to have to give the stuff away. Not only is it a waste of piggie life, but it's a waste of money to the farmers.

I wonder if the decision has any direct ties to religion. Maybe an extremely Muslim nation doesn't care as much about killing a dirty animal they can't eat and that's only raised by the non-Muslim minority.

I also wonder if this means bacon will be on sale. That would be about the only perk of this whole swine flu scare. Mmmm bacon.

2 comments:

  1. I have been patiently waiting for pork prices to sharply drop. I ate more pork tacos last month than there have been fatalities so far, at least from swine flu. I can't say the same for regular influenza, which kills a few hundred thousand people on an annual basis, but I'm working on it. Why do people freak out in situations like this?

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  2. Interesting thing: this can actually be viewed (and is, in some circles) as the dominant Muslim community attacking the minority Coptic Christians, forcing them to destroy their livelyhood over an excuse. The joys of battling sky-fairies.

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