29 April 2009

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Officials Point to Swine Flu in New York” (front page, April 26):

Dare we ask why this happening [sic]? While its exact origin is still unclear, this pathogen, and many others (like avian influenza), originated from animals being raised or eaten for food.

As the world moves toward raising the majority of animals in the unnatural setting of factory farms, it is likely that more, and worse, such pathogens will arise. What will it take for us, and our public health leaders, to question our addiction to meat and tolerance of factory farming? The meat industry is environmentally devastating, incredibly inhumane and now potentially the end to us all.

Edward Machtinger
San Francisco, April 26, 2009
The writer is an associate professor of medicine and director of the Women’s H.I.V. Program, University of California, San Francisco.