Global Education

Egypt slaughters pigs to prevent spread of H1N1

By Deanna Badizadegan
Published: May 2009

Despite the World Health Organization’s (WHO) claims that pigs cannot transmit swine flu to humans, the Egyptian government has issued an order to slaughter the nation’s 250,000 pigs.

One hundred pigs have already been slaughtered in Alexandria, and the country continues to transport thousands of pigs out of neighborhoods and into slaughterhouses.

The WHO disapproves of Egypt’s precautionary move on the basis that there is no evidence of pigs transmitting the disease to humans. Though the WHO has not yet ruled out restrictions on the circulation of pigs, Egypt calls the slaughter a general health measure.

According to the agriculture ministry’s head of infectious diseases, Saber Abdel Aziz Galal, the pig meat will be frozen and stored in freezers for their owners to sell.

The most affected by this measure are members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, which are both the primary supplier and consumer of swine. The country has promised to compensate for the pig owners’ losses, but some who have lost their entire flocks have not received any money from the government.

The WHO warned that the ongoing infection could increase the risk to human health and safety.

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