Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The pork conspiracy

The Swine Flu is badly named isn't it. Gives pigs a bad rap when they don't deserve it.

Since the news of the new flu strain first surfaced we've been assured by the medical profession and scientists that there's no way in the world that eating cooked pork will expose us to flu risk.

You can't catch it that way. You catch it from infected humans spreading the virus by coughing and sneezing.

The authorities in Abu Dhabi seem to know something the experts don't.

Now I swear I'm not making this up - in Abu Dhabi the General Secretariat of Municipalities has issued a circular banning the import and sale of all types of pork in the country "as a precautionary measure against swine flu". They had earlier banned the import of pork from Mexico and the US, but have now extended it to a blanket ban "considering the alarming situation."

The alarming situation to me is the fact that they don't seem to understand what they're dealing with.

If the outbreak had more correctly been called Mexican Flu I bet they'd have closed all the Mexican restaurants, banned burritos, tossed the tacos.

It hardly instils confidence in the authorities' understanding of the situation. And that's a worry, because to avoid or solve a problem you first need to understand it.



Here's the full story.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the outbreak had more correctly been called Mexican Flu.......Seebee - why would the name "Mexican Flu" be more correct than the name "Swine Flu"?

Kyle said...

a circular banning the import and sale of all types of pork in the country "as a precautionary measure against swine flu".This is hilarious and to some extent matches our family's advice to us in the States. They want us to hold-off in sending our kids to the East Coast.

Jad Aoun said...

I don't agree with the use of the term Mexican Flu. We had bird flu and no one was complaining about a rename. Its really not a "Mexican Flu". Ground Zero is Mexico but the virus originated from pigs. So Pig Flu or Swine Flu is a valid name for the illness.

I know the Israeli government wants the flu renamed because pigs are un-kosher but that's just silly.

Seabee said...

Flu is usually named after the place of origin guys - Hong Kong Flu, Asian Flu, Spanish Flu etc.

This one isn't strictly porcine in origin, it's a mutation of avian, porcine and two human strains.

Anonymous said...

Variants of flu virus are sometimes named according to the species the strain is endemic in or adapted to. The main variants named using this convention are: Bird Flu, Human Flu, Swine Flu, Horse Flu and Dog Flu.

Seabee said...

Oh come on, lighten up fellas, your concern about the name is missing the point!

The point is that the authorities are ignoring expert statements and taking action which is pointless, unnecessary and unhelpful.

I simply used Mexican to make the point (and it was appropriate as place of outbreak origin is usually used as the name for human outbreaks of new flu epi/pandemics amongst humans).

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Seabess, guess who agrees with you on this one!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/2/hi/middle_east/8021301.stm

DUBAI JAZZ said...

on a serious note, I totally agree with you. The virus had EVOLVED and now is bouncing from one human to another. It doesn't matter now where it'd come from.


It's still better than Egypt, though; who decided today to slaughter all its swine stocks.

rosh said...

"The Swine Flu is badly named isn't it."

Yup!

"Gives pigs a bad rap when they don't deserve it."

lol bad rap? being a pig, is bad. I've never understood why people consume pork - disgusting. Pigs eat their own umm..'stuff' and have no pores! YUCK!

Mark Stuart said...

Dear Seabee:

The world is unfortunately full of arrogant people that believe they have sufficient knowledge in fields they have never studied or researched to even imagine they can impress upon you their beliefs, thoughts, opinions or fantasies as worth voicing just because they can read and write. Please dear Seabee do not be among those ones!
I wish you had done a little more digging and research before you accused the Abu Dhabi Authorities of ignorance and tried to portray them as imbeciles.

the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US) sates on its website, and here i quote:
"...How does swine flu spread?...Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely to occur when people are in close proximity to infected pigs..." please find below the link that will provide you and your reader much needed professional information about the Swine Flu.

Key Facts about Swine Influenza (Swine Flu) from the CDC

Reality Check said...

Wow, guys. You're missing the point. And a sense of humour! Mexican flu was the name coined by the Israelis, yes. In a further twist of irony, because Israel is not "kosher" here, when it was being reported here on the Dubai One news, they did a country-by-country blow of where the infections were: N.Z, Canada, U.S., Mexico......."The Occupied Territories". Last I checked, there was no country called the Occupied Territories.

Not turning this into a political discussion, but this PC B.S. is crazy. As is banning pork seeing as you can't get it from consumption.

Thanks for saving me a blog entry, Seabee. You read my mind!

Reality Check said...

@Mark Stuart

Read the whole article. Yes there is pig-human transmission. That is the point. The only thing is, the pig needs to be alive! Virus strains evolve. I highly doubt the Mexi-pigs are mingling with the Egyptian pigs at this point.

Properly cooked food will eradicate and bacteria, etc. Should we ban eggs and chicken if someone gets Salmonella for not cooking their food?

The authorities in Abu Dhabi simply hit the panic button. The W.H.O. trumps the CDC anyway. Every country can make their decisions, but they should have some reason behind it.

Brn said...

And the Obama administration is going with the H1N1 virus. The way that just rolls off the tongue assures that it will catch on.

I suspect that the authorities in Abu Dhabi know that it isn't spread that way but are banning it to keep panic or worse (violence against stores selling pork, say) from happening.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. Apparently other countries have taken the same step in banning the import of pork. I tend to think this is for ecomomic or political reasons. For instance, countries that have porcine livestock can benefit from banning imports. Goverments may also seem to be being "prudent" to the ignorant (in many cases the majority of the constituency?) by taking this step.

samuraisam said...

Does anyone know if the bacon stocks in any of the supermarkets in the UAE are running short just yet?

I'm having difficulty imagining a UAE with no bacon but with alcohol.

Seabee said...

RC thanks for answering Mark Stuart's misunderstanding of the whole situation, it saved me the trouble.

Mark, I will say though that nothing in my post "accused the Abu Dhabi Authorities of ignorance and tried to portray them as imbeciles". What an astonishing accusation to make - would you care to tell us where you saw that?

Sam, Spinneys and Waitrose still have the pork sections operating normally with plenty of stock. You may need to be quick though, I suspect there may be a run on bacon!

samuraisam said...

seabee: I would go know but I'm eating a bacon sandwich. Will go later and report my findings.

Seabee said...

Sam, I stopped by Waitrose at Dubai Marina Mall earlier this morning for essentials - tonic water & salted cashews - and I checked the pork section. It was normal.

samuraisam said...

seabee:I tried spinneys on al wasl road (which is about 1 km away from my house) but couldn't get in because ever since the RTA was created and started fiddling with the roads spinneys has been jam packed with people that don't live in the area.

So I went to park n shop and everything seemed normal in the pork section. I stocked up anyway. Hopefully this import ban doesn't last more than a few weeks (or however long these things last)

Spear The Almighty said...

I'm a avid pork lover.

I also think it is a little stupid but then again...

Polony, sausages, salami etc we do eat raw. You can get it by eating raw pork so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt...

For now.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, this has little to do with 'swine flu'.

Bahrain is having a big clearout with a lot of talk about banning alcohol and pork. Umm Al Qwain has banned bars and nightclubs. Dubai, as one of the more liberal areas of the Gulf, has reaffirmed its 'code of conduct' that bans holding hands in public.

There's a definite trend in this region that some of the 'Western' elements introduced here are going too far and cities around the region are now looking much more seriously at reaffirming their Islamic credentials.

Swine flu has given the government a serendipitous opportunity to ban pork and while there may be a genuine plan to lift the ban when the crisis is over, to be honest I cannot see locals reacting particularly well to the lifting of the ban. The argument will run that everything was fine when pork was banned, so why then voluntarily violate Shariah again?

Once something has been banned with the implicit support of the controlling population, it's very hard to legalise it again.

I don't think we'll be seeing pork back on UAE shelves again. I'd like to be proved wrong but I can't see it happening.

the real nick said...

Anonymous ^ - you have to go the whole hog (as it were)- It's a conspiracy: Dubai invented the swine flu to ban pork. And they started it in Mexico so as to not raise suspicion.

ZeTallGerman said...

"I've never understood why people consume pork - disgusting. Pigs eat their own umm..'stuff'".
rosh - pigs are actually very clean animals. they just seem filthy because of the way most nations keep them: in far too small pens that aren't cleaned from their own "stuff." A pig has very sensitive skin and needs to cover itself in mud to keep cool and healthy. It's a natural instinct, just like chickens like to peck and scratch the ground. By not giving pigs access to a clean, muddy area they have no other choice than to roll in their own "stuff". Not the pigs' fault - human fault. (I don't eat meat at all - so I'm not promoting eating pork, just standing-up for the poor misunderstood pigs!)

Seabee, I totally agree with you that the UAE doesn't seem to have quite grasped what they're dealing with. A few days ago they wrote "the UAE is at almost no risk whatsoever from the swine flu because we have no live pigs in the country." They still hadn't understood that the virus is transmitting between humans. I wrote to the Gulf News, stating that "Like it or not, the UAE has just as high a risk of being overrun with swine flu as any other country in the world that has an international airport."

ZeTallGerman said...

PS: supermarkets have said that they'll "continue to sell pork unless they receive an official circular in writing." Good on them! Far too often are things mentioned in the media and not followed-up directly by the powers that be.

I'm considering buying the entire stock of pork tonight, and then selling it to bacon-craving Brits over the next few weeks :-) At a relatively high profit margin, of course...

Brn said...

Actually the UAE would have a higher risk precisely because there is so much international travel.

ZeTallGerman said...

Dr Al Zarouni (chairman of the infection control committee at Al Qassimi Hospital, Sharjah) said that in the event of a pandemic, the UAE would not have enough ICU (intensive care unit) beds to cope.

"Hospitals don't have enough isolation wards for a pandemic, so we're talking about the use of ICU beds," he said. "It's impossible to get one in the UAE because of the number of road traffic accidents here. ICU wards are 110% occupied."

Food for thought...

HE said...

I have to say Seabee; I check your blog regularly to see if I disagree with a post you have written. Just to have a different view on things. You my friend are making it very difficult; I have yet to find one post.

Having switched of the T.V. and folding the newspapers, I figured I owed it to myself to find out about this outbreak as best I could. Having done that, I feel much safer and much less alarmed.

Seabee said...

HE it's nice to know there are some people who don't vehemently disagree with everything I say.

Today, by the way, it's reported that the WHO will stop using the term 'swine flu' "to avoid the confusion over the danger posed by pigs".

ZeTallGerman said...

Oh, confusion, silly us, we must have misunderstood again:

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/554275-uae-has-not-banned-pork-imports---senior-official-