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NEWS RELEASE May 14, 2009

Metro Swine Flu Ad Urges Government to Shut Down “Flu Farms”

Ad Campaign Highlights Link between Hog Industry and Swine Flu Pandemic

WASHINGTON—A new digital Metro ad points out that "1 in 3 pigs harbors flu viruses" and urges Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to shut down intensive hog farms to reduce swine flu risk. The ad, created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), made its debut Tuesday, May 12, in the Farragut West Metro station, near the 18th and I street entrance.

Hog producers have tried to distance themselves from culpability for the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus. But overcrowded pig farms offer a breeding ground for new forms of influenza, according to a report last year from the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. One-third to one-half of pigs on modern farms have antibody evidence of influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There would be no swine flu pandemics without pig farms,” says PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D. “These huge pig facilities are unsanitary, inhumane, and extremely dangerous to human health. It’s time to shut these flu farms down.”

In a letter to Vilsack, Dr. Barnard points out that leading health experts have expressed concerns about factory farming. Five years ago, the American Public Health Association called for a moratorium on new factory farms because these facilities pose grave public health risks.

Last year, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production cited numerous public health issues associated with factory farms and recommended the phaseout of intensive confinement on farms.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Tara Failey
202-686-2210, ext. 319

Neal Barnard, M.D.
Neal Barnard, M.D.

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