Pork sales defy opportunistic attack

Fortunately, it would seem that the recent outbreak of Mexican, tequila, H1N1 or whatever-we're-supposed-to-call-it flu has yet to have any impact on the sales of pork.

As Danish Bacon UK marketing director John Howard recently said at a meeting of the Food Club, the "genie is out of the bottle" and the name "swine flu" has stuck in both the media and the public consciousness. There's nothing we can do about it - but the good news is that consumers do not appear to be concerned about consuming pork and pork products if the early trading figures are anything to go by.

The bigger issue that, perhaps, we need to keep a closer eye on is the wealth of misinformation - both malicious and just ignorant - that is awash on the internet and wider press. Unfortunately, it appears to mainly stem from the usual (vegetarian) sources, who have seized on the name "swine" to launch an attack on farming and meat-eating in general.

Despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest this flu has anything to do with pigs and the fact that it appears only to have infected humans - with one human-infected Canadian pig herd the exception - that has not stopped various smug claims on- and off-line about how meat eaters are reaping the whirlwind. Ironically, these same, smug, self-satisfied fellows seem equally ignorant of the fact that they are just as susceptible to catching this flu as meat-eaters - perhaps even more so if the lack of iron in their diet is anything to go by!

Perhaps more irritating has been the blatant opportunism of some of the welfare and animal activist groups that have hijacked a totally irrelevant issue to push their own agenda of anti-meat production. Hopefully, it will be seen for the desperate act it really is.

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