FORMER pig farmer Darryl Stewart yesterday hit out at “the sensationalistic misinformation” on swine flu which, he believes, is damaging Australia's pork industry.
“It is already having an effect on pork sales. People are not buying it because of the hype,” he said.
Mr Stewart reluctantly turned his back on pig farming last October as his Tiaro piggery felt the squeeze from the drought and pork imports.
A furious Mr Stewart yesterday called on federal and state authorities to cease “public posturing” and get the facts about the flu straight.
“It is a cocktail of viruses,” he said.
“The current virus has little to do with swine. As I understand, it is a mutated virus comprising elements of two human flu viruses, one avian flu virus and one swine flu virus. As the greatest component at present is human flu, should it not, in fact, be named human flu?
“Why don't we refer to this particular viral disease by its official designation, the H1N1 flu virus?
“I am appalled at the sensationalistic misinformation I read and hear about the supposed latest pandemic.”
Mr Stewart had operated a pig farm in Tiaro for 16 years before closing the gates six months ago. He had previously worked in the pork processing industry for 17 years and has been associated with the industry one way or another for about 40 years.
“Australian pigs do not have, and never in the history of Australian pigs, have had the virus internationally known as swine flu. The disease is not found in Australia. In fact, you have far less chance of getting the H1N1 virus by kissing an Australian pig than you do by kissing another human being.
“Be Australian, buy Australian, and experience the thrill of a lifetime by kissing an Australian pig. You will help the Australian pork industry and not catch the flu.”
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