Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How about "NAFTA flu"?

What role has agribusiness in the flu outbreak? Robert Wallace, a Visiting professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Geography, suggests that trade policies have forced poorer country's markets open to under-regulated agribusiness, and that that has played a role in the current flu outbreak.

Interviewed at, Wallace suggests that the spread of what he calls "cities of pork and poultry" goes hand in hand with structural adjustments in agribusiness that are a direct result of IMF policies and treaties like NAFTA. "The North American Free Trade Agreement," he states, "was signed in 1993, instituted in 1994, and has had a subsequent effect on how poultry and pigs are raised in Mexico." Those "cities of pork and poultry" and the regulatory failings in agribusiness play a key role in the outbreak and spreading of avian or swine flu in countries like China and Mexico, Wallace argues.

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