Campaigners deliver pig farm petition to WHO

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Avaaz brings 100 cardboard pigs to Geneva to protest industrial farming’s role in spreading swine flu.

Geneva -- Online campaigners delivered a petition with 225,000 signatures to the World Health Organisation Wednesday to protest industrial farming methods they blame for increasing the risk of diseases like swine flu.

With the help of about 100 cardboard cutout pigs, the online citizen's movement Avaaz, or "voice", called on the WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to ensure factory farming meets public health standards.

The group's campaign was prompted by the controversy surrounding an industrial scale pig farm near the Mexican village of La Gloria, where some of the first cases of A(H1N1) influenza were reported.

Avaaz Campaign Director Ricken Patel said, "There have been warnings for years that these dirty warehouses crammed with pigs are increasing the risk of development and transmission of disease epidemics."

He added, "The WHO and FAO must regulate food production to save the global population from future animal-borne lethal pandemics and ensure global health security."

"Our safety cannot be left in the hands of a powerful meat industry motivated by profit at the cost of human health."

The pink cardboard pigs on stakes were symbolically herded in a small field outside the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

The WHO says it has not yet established a direct link between the new virus, which has largely swine flu components, and pigs. It also minimised the risk of transmission through meat.

Health experts are still trying to determine the exact origins of the outbreak.

Avaaz, a multinational online campaign community, collected its signatures over the Internet.

AFP / Expatica

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