Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson last week asked folks to stop giving pork a bad rap by calling the H1N1 virus “swine flu” because of the devastating impact it’s having on the pork industry.
But the threat of spreading the virus between pigs and people is a real threat, according to yesterday’s New York Times.
Not in the way most might think, however.
Vets fear that humans will spread the virus to the animals and are instituting precautions at state fairs and other places where the porcine creatures come into contact with those higher up on the food chain.
“When the Oregon State Fair opens next week, the pigs will be kept behind an elaborate configuration of plastic and ribbon barriers, taller-than-usual fences and off-limits walkways. The state veterinarian is also urging visitors to stay six feet away.
The worry? The spread of swine flu, but with a twist: state officials hope to insulate the pigs from sick people.
‘Help us protect the piggies,’ signs at the fair will read in pink,” the story begins.
“The whole idea of the animals getting sick from people is a foreign concept to people, but that’s what we’re looking at here,” said Iowa state veterinarian David E. Marshall said in the story.