Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The New Pig Hunt

H1N1 has put the scare into a lot of people here in Iraq and there have been a flurry of newspaper articles about the threat of "Swine Flu" as it is mistakenly known. Most of these articles include statements by boasting government officials on how they have the problem in hand, no cases have been found in Iraq, etc. etc. etc. But many of them end with a statement about activities to cull or eradicate Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in Iraq.

Wild Boar can be found in the marshes and along many of the rivers but also in grass and woodlands. Many Boar are considered a nuisance to farmers because they have been known to dig and root in farmers fields and eat the cultivated plants. Many are killed for this reason and in the Mesopotamian Marshlands of southern Iraq Boar hunts are an activity with a long history (ie: to Sumerian times). Unfortunately for the Wild Boar, this new concern over the H1N1 virus, has led to another, if erroneous reason for hunting them.

Nature Iraq, an Iraqi environmental organization, just released a press release trying to educate people in Iraq about the issue. They state:

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) strongly counsels against the culling of pigs in the current situation with A/H1N1 influenza that started in North America. Scientific information currently available to the OIE and partner organizations indicates that this novel A/H1N1 influenza virus is being transmitted amongst humans; there is no evidence of infection in pigs, nor of humans acquiring infection directly from pigs. In fact, because of this confusion, the World Health Organization has renamed the current outbreak to one being caused by “Influenza A” not “swine flu”.

Despite this stories have been going around of efforts to kill the pigs in the south of Iraq using poison or shooting them from helicopters. All of this is pointless and is not ecologically justified or even economically feasible.

Wild Boar killed by hunters in Taq Taq on the Little Zap River, 2007


  • Dear Sophia,
    I am glad to see your new post. I check your blog frequently and start to worry when there is a long gap in posts. I very much admire the work you are doing.

    By Blogger D Berrian, at May 21, 2009 7:08 PM  

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