Monday, 24 August 2009


"Hi Malcolm, I've got swine flu. I've been in bed for several days," said our friend from down the road.

"Oh no. Are you OK now?," said the pig "farmer", wondering whether the "swine" part of the conversation had any significance.

"I'm much better thanks and the kids haven't caught it fortunately. Anyway, what I'm ringing for is to ask if you have any bales of hay to spare."

Hay deal done, I was left wondering why I get jumpy every time someone mentions "swine" flu and why it's called "swine" flu. I looked it up here and as far as I can fathom, it's a bit like infections that circulate in pigs in America and Europe.

The word the site uses is "similar".

"Similar". Not "same".

I shall now start referring to Manchester United as "Arsenal" because their red shirts are similar to Arsenal's.

I'm not saying that anyone in the UK is going to suggest we take anything like the horrific, shameful, brutal and unnecessary wholesale slaughter of the pig population by the Egyptian government highlighted by Compassion in World Farming earlier this summer. However, the UK government webpage on the outbreak uses the word "swine" 43 times.

Now, I haven't heard of any backlash against pork by the level-headed British public. Indeed, the price of pork is higher than it has been for some time (still far too low for pig farmers to make anything like a living), but associating pigs with a potentially fatal infection is hardly helpful.

So, on behalf of pigs and pig farmers everywhere, can we knock it off? If you get the bug, you've got flu. Get to bed, consult a doctor if necessary and when you feel better, treat yourself to a big bacon sandwich (from a free range British pig of course).


surrey said...

I'm also scared from swine flu. are you????????

Malc said...


Anonymous said...

I think your chum in Norfolk(not Dave-the other one)has a phone number you can call.
Down here, we're being flooded with bad journalism on the Hendra virus(it's a kind of rabies, carried by bats) and I worry that some clown will want to shoot all bats.
Last week,in our local hospital, a "perfectly fit, healthy father-of-two" died from swine flu.
We had organic bacon for breakfast.
Stay well, my friend.
How are the shakers?

I, Like The View said...

two out of four of us in this house had it (five days of mild, slightly unpleasant illness - nothing like "real" flu)

didn't feel any closer to pigs for the experience

I envy you their joys

Rog said...

The overreaction of the tabloids to CJD, Avian Flu, Swine Flu and that thing that eats your flesh is pitiable.

God help them if something proper comes along....