Foul Farms: The State of Animal Agriculture

  • Aysha Akhtar
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series book series (PMAES)


As disturbing as the wildlife trade is in fostering the development of new infectious diseases, recent events suggest that the biggest and most imminent threat may lie much closer to home. Between 2007 and 2008, farmers in the Philippines noticed that pigs were falling sick and dying by the hundreds for unknown reasons.1 A subsequent investigation confirmed the presence of porcine reproductive and respiratory disease syndrome, a serious illness among pigs.2 But, much to the surprise of the investigators, a subtype of Ebola virus, Ebola Reston, was also discovered circulating in a sample of the pigs. This was the first time Ebola of any strain had been found in these animals. ‘We never thought that pigs could be infected,’ says Pierre Rollin, an Ebola expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3 Rollin believes that Ebola Reston is to blame for the pigs’ deaths because tissue studies revealed that the virus had pervaded the spleen, similar to its mode of attack in monkeys. Ebola Reston is named after the strain that was discovered in monkeys shipped to laboratories in the USA from the Philippines on several occasions between 1989 and 1996. The first shipment of Ebola virus was discovered after hundreds of monkeys became severely ill or died in a quarantine facility owned by Hazleton Laboratories (now Covance, Inc.) in Reston, Virginia.


Necrotizing Fasciitis Foodborne Illness Domestic Bird Factory Farm H5N1 Outbreak 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Aysha Akhtar 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aysha Akhtar
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Oxford Centre for Animal EthicsUK
  2. 2.US Food and Drug AdministrationNorth PotomacUSA

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