To the Editor:
Re “Virus Spreading Alarm and Deadly Pig Disease in China” (Business Day, Aug. 16):
Given our exportation of large-scale intensive confinement facilities, it is tragic, though not surprising, that disease is devastating the Chinese industry. With this industrialization often comes overcrowding, inadequate ventilation and related physiological stress—factors implicated as heightening the risk of disease outbreaks.
Though it may be too late for too many, we can only hope that diseased animals are not left in pain but are humanely euthanized to end their suffering.
In the long term, there is a glimmer of hope for China’s pigs. In 2005, a survey commissioned by the International Fund for Animal Welfare showed that the Chinese are similar to Americans in their concern for animals. Indeed, if public sympathy is changing in China regarding how we treat animals raised and killed for food, as it is here in the United States, then we can only expect future improvements in the welfare of farm animals.
President and Chief Executive, Humane Society of the United States
Washington, Aug. 16, 2007