Mar 12, 2009


Great. A new acronym we're going to wish we'd never heard. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterial infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. I'll spare you the grisly skin details, but suffice to say it kills more people in the U.S. now than AIDS. 'What's the culprit?' you may be wondering, 'global warming, insects?' Pigs.

Pigs grown in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), the industrial scale source of almost all of our meat, even a lot of the stuff labeled 'organic,' are packed in tighter than Londoners in the 1300s. And, like every European city in the Middle Ages that mixed high density with animals and shoddy cleaning, CAFOs breed disease almost as efficiently as they breed create tail-less pigs. Enter MRSA.

I'd never heard of this particular infection until today when I read two different pieces about it (I'm supposed to be on vacation). Just one more reason to start cutting down on your meat intake unless it's from more natural, sustainable places than antibiotic- and petroleum-fed factories. And this really is the only thing that's going to bring about change: your decision to eat sustainably. This is not a top-down solution, especially because the President's choice for Secretary of Agriculture is an industry guy. We have to start giving a damn about where our food is coming from and demanding better.


Blogger Pat Gardiner said...

I have spent almost decade on this disaster, day after day: there at the beginning, with pigs and in pig country when the horror story started

There is little doubt that MRSA in pigs has been leaking into the hospitals for some years.

There was a nasty mutation to a porcine circovirus in Britain in 1999 which caused an epidemic that required huge quantities of antibiotics to handle the consequences.

MRSA in pigs was the result, usually ST398 strain.

The Dutch picked up the problem about four years ago and commendably make everything they knew public.

Both circovirus and MRSA epidemics have now travelled the world along with accompanying cover-ups. It is quite a nasty situation - now coming to light in the USA.

MRSA st398, mutated circovirus and various other unpleasant zoonotic diseases have now reached American pig farms.

The people exposing the scandal in the US are to be commended.

Pat Gardiner
Release the results of testing British pigs for MRSA and C.Diff now! and

8:09 AM  
Blogger AngryChad said...

Alright seriously now, you need to get on Google Reader. I share your posts out often, and and someone usually comments. Here's what Steph wrote about this post:

My Uncle was just in the hospital with Cellulitus for 5 days and the doctors said it was the onset of MRSA but they caught it in time. As it was, his hand swelled up the size of a bowling ball and the infection traveled the length of his arm. After 5 days in the hospital, his hand is still swollen and he can barely move it. This stuff is nasty.

9:13 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Thanks for your comment and the links, Pat. Though no one would wish outbreaks of disease like this to happen, perhaps it can make obvious the dangers of continuing down the road we've put ourselves on.

As for Google Reader, Chad, I'll do it right now - I should be working but for you, anything. Actually you piqued my curiosity by playing to my ego. Nicely done.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous 100years said...

Ummmmm... was I imagining you trying to eat the 2 pound burger at Meat Cutters in Detroit???

LOL..... love ya kid!!!


11:03 AM  

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