Optagon Publications
  The Biological and Ecological Disaster of Pig Domestication

Here is a further section from Ecolibrium, by Nadeem Haque, Mehran Banaei and Al Hafiz B.A. Masri. Ecolibrium is unpublished but the Optagon website has been authorized to print excerpts. For referencing these sections please contact Optagon Publications. This section was written by Nadeem Haque.


The Domestication of Pigs: A Problematic Development


As we have attempted to show in this book, everything has a proper place in the scheme of existence designed by the Creator to serve a particular purpose in space and over time. As an example of misplacement, in this book we have shown cases where the misplacement of animals causes a disruption in the natural dynamic equilibrium in nature. There is an interesting case of this misplacement which highlights this very approach.  The case has to do with the pig. Our main thesis is that: The domestication of the pig has caused the spread of the deadlier strains of influenza among humans and if pigs had been left in the wilderness ¾ for which they were designed ¾ they would have served their optimal function as vacuum cleaners, breaking down waste, as parts of the grand organic recycling machine of nature, and would not have caused such contagious harm.

If this thesis eventually turns out to be proven, through further research, then the domestication of swine will have proven to be one of the greatest unsuspected and unrealized ecological disasters. If the world population accepted and followed the Quranic and Judaic injunctions not to eat swine flesh (for dietetic reasons) then all those tens of millions of people who have been unnecessarily killed by influenza over the ages would not have succumbed to such premature fates and suffering, not to mention the suffering of pigs themselves.

Let us examine the theory of the pig as the transmitter of deadly flu viruses to human given what we now know. In 1918 more people died of Swine Influenza or the Spanish Flu than did during the whole of World War I – 30 million. The likely cause of this was the pig, but there is still some debate about this conclusion. However, recently there is a theory that:


Pigs on farms in Asia (where both the 1957 and 1968 pandemics originated) are often kept close to ducks and chickens. And pigs have receptors on their snots not just for their own virus but for bird and human viruses as well. So, potentially, a pig could snort up a bird virus in infected droppings or water, inhale a human virus spread by a coughing farmer, and become a mixing vessel for the two. The viral progeny might then infect humans nearby…This might explain the deadly 1918, 1957 and 1968 pandemics…[It must be noted] that every fall since 1918, pigs in the United States have come down with the classic swine flu, a gift of the virus H1N1, which is a relative of the 1918 human virus. (The Flu classification system numbers flu strains by variation in their hemagglutinin and nearaminidese genes). The Hong Kong flu of 1968, however, had a hemagglutinin related to one not found in pigs, but in birds….There had already been evidence that the 1957 and 1968 flu pandemics were caused by human viruses that had substituted avian genes – probably from waterfowl for some of their own. Yet catching flu from pigs seemed more likely. While humans don’t carry receptors for bird flu on their cells, pigs do. The going theory was that flu viruses might resort more easily, and become more compatible with humans, if they mixed in an intermediate host like a pig.[1]


If pigs do sometimes serve this function [of being mixing vessels], their involvement might help explain why pandemics commonly originate in China : millions of birds, pigs and people live closely there.[2]


If pigs were displaced from the environment where they were serving as part of the natural hierarchy for the staged decomposition of waste, then if they were taken out of that environment and placed in a human environment, they did not only create a problem by their presence in the human domain, but by their absence in their natural domain. If one were to conduct research in this area, there is no doubt that, by force of logic, they have contributed to upsetting some aspects of nature’s balance by being removed from their natural setting. What biological, ecological or pathogenic harm this has caused is, at the present time anybody’s guess, and would require extensive, interdisciplinary research. If only humankind had listened to the wisdom of the prophets, if only…

[1]. Gadsby, Patricia (1999) Discover Magazine, “Fear of Flu”, January 1999, Vol. 20, Number 1, p. 82-88.

[2]. Laver, Graeme W., Bischofberger, Norbert, Webster, Robert G. (1999), Scientific American, “Disarming Flu Viruses”, Volume 280, Number 1, p. 82.

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