Saturday, May 2, 2009

How would you feel, if...

...your government ordered, with no evidence offered as to the necessity, the destruction of a substantial means of livelihood / food choice for a substantial minority segment of the population... a foodstuff the majority population deems unacceptable for religious reasons?

Just putting this out there for your consideration.

The Government of Egypt has ordered the destruction of all swine livestock in the country as a part of "preventative measures against the influenza outbreak". Of which, by the way, there are no confirmed cases in the *region*, much less the country.

Some odds and ends to add to your considered opinion:

Coptic Christians make up just over 10% of the ethnic mix that is Egypt; For comparison, both the Hispanic ethnicity group and the "Black" identifier group used in U.S. census data are just a little larger segments of the American mix (they are both about 12%, but this doesn't note the substantial cross-counting from the groups).

The Egyptian Government apparently took the action to order the pig kill for political image purposes. They have been severely criticised in the media for failures to take action after Avian Influenza struck in 2003~06, and for general incompetence in the face of natural disasters like floods and landslides. Still,
The government likely felt confident slaughtering pigs would not spark any public backlash in predominantly Muslim Egypt, where the majority of the population does not eat pork. Pig raising and consumption is limited to the country's Christian minority, estimated at 10 percent of the population.
Didn't quite work out that way.

While the leaders of the Coptic Church signed off on the idea, pretty much everyone else (*including* the Moslem Brotherhood!) and pro-government news media has recognized this as the singularly unjustified act that it was.

Maybe the government thought it was saving the pigs from getting infected... by killing them. Look, it is now confirmed that people can give this influenza to pigs, but there is no evidence that pigs can give it to humans.


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