The documentary film "PIG BUSINESS" made with her own resources by the Marchioness of Worcester, Tracy Worcester, was screened last night on British TV.
Long delayed by the threat of legal action, Tracy’s film was a very pleasant surprise. She is a very capable film maker, personable and not at all cranky as a presenter.
It was a professional job. A lot of the material was a bit out of date and it was less gory than one would expect.
There were a number of themes in a very long documentary, but the main ones were:
“Big Business has been deliberately driving small farmers off the land.”
“Big pig farms are dangerous to human health.”
We did not agree with everything, nobody would, and Britain escaped much criticism that would have been justified.
Although critical of Smithfield, it was not anti-American in tone. You could screen this in the States, where much was set, with no problem apart from possibly Smithfield. Robert Kennedy Jnr played a prominent role – and about three republican presidents were quoted. Smithfield were interviewed on screen.
A MUST watch for everyone in Britain, America and Europe interested in industrial scale livestock production and the problems
The writer would add the following points of correction:
1. I do not think, in the absence of reliable information, thatt he antibiotics in manufactured pig feed were the major cause of "pig" MRSA. I believe the major cause from properly legally prescribed antibiotics to deal with the consequences of circovirus epidemics dating back to mutated circovirus (PMWS - PDNS etc from 1999 onwards.)
2. I believe that MRSA has been in British pigs for at least five years and that information has been deliberately withheld from public knowledge by Britain's agriculture ministry - Defra.
3. I do believe that Britain's vets, pig and pork workers should have been subject to "special" screening for MRSA on, or prior, to hospital entry, as well as routinely at place of employment.
Most regular readers here know all this well. One man can hardly have done more over many years to bring a disgraceful scandal to public attention.
Most of the details can be found on the newsgroup uk.business.agriculture - held offshore safe from British government tampering - accessible and searchable from Google Groups.
For those who missed the film the following is a transcript of the passages dealing with MRSA.
"Soon after this demonstration, new and disturbing reports appeared.
People could be in danger of getting the pig strain of MRSA, a bacterium which is resistant to antibiotics, similar to the human strain that kills several thousand people in British hospitals every year. The alleged culprit? The factory farming system, as farmer, Richard Young explained to me."
Richard Young, Policy Advisor, Soil Association:
"One of the big weaknesses in the system is their heavy dependence on antibiotics and the fact that causes infections which can spread from animals to humans, such as salmonella, e.coli and campylobacter and even MRSA and in the Netherlands, for example, where the most research has been undertaken, 40 per cent of their pigs are carrying the strain of MRSA that can pass to humans. It's been spread rapidly on the pigfarm because the antibiotics that have been put in the pig feed are actually selecting for it. That means they kill off the other bacteria which might provide some natural competition, but they don't kill off the MRSA because the MRSA is resistant. Meat which may appear very cheap is in fact, very, very expensive and in some cases that could be at the cost of our own lives."
Mark Enright, Prof. of Epidemiology, Imperial College:
"Because this strain's relatively common in other countries, it would be very surprising if this pig strain of MRSA wasn't in the UK and food chain and in the UK population. I think that's a fear that these animal strains, um, because we're selecting for them, we're using antibiotics in our animal populations and they can pick up resistance to antibiotics that we use in human health. In general, I don't think there's a great deal to be alarmed about. I would like,I think, to see farmers, certainly pig farmers, um, being offered testing for MRSA."