Pork Commentary: WHO - Thanks for Nothing

CANADA - This weeks North American Pork Commentary from Jim Long.
calendar icon 12 May 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The failure of the World Health Organization (WHO) to comprehend the total lack of severity of the H1N1 virus and allow the world swine industry to be devastated financially by the misnaming of the virus is if not criminal, is at least unprofessional. To think our industry’s destiny is tied to a group clustered in Geneva Switzerland is tragic. The bottom line: three dead in the USA from H1N1. Normally, 100 die every day in the US from all types of flu viruses. It’s been a toot in a windstorm. It goes to show when you give health authorities an opportunity to use the word “pandemic“, it allows them to grab the headlines and breathlessly tell us about the approaching Armageddon. They love the publicity. Avian flu, Mad Cow, H1N1 (swine flu), they come, they go but each manufactured crisis goes a long way to keep funding the health – safety complex. No government has the courage to fire these clowns who scream like Chicken Little whenever they get a chance. Follow the money trail.

Of note, Mexico announced last week only 38 per cent of the so called H1N1 flu cases were actually H1N1. The rest were misdiagnosed. Would there be a crisis if health officials had gotten it right? H1N1 has wacked not only Mexican hog producers but the whole Mexican economy.

You’ve got to love Egypt deciding they should slaughter all swine in their country as a preemptive strike against H1N1. They must have real sharp health officials there! We also understand President Obama is visiting Egypt but they better remind him to bring his own pork!


It’s coming back. Iowa – Minnesota went from 53.45 to 58.88 Friday to Friday. That’s a pick up of $10.00 per head.

Lean Hog Futures
Friday to Friday
May 55.88 61.12
June 65.55 68.20
July 68.31 70.77

We need more but we believe it is coming. USA Hog Marketings last week were just a little over 2 million (2.010) last year in the same week 2.087 million. Lean hogs last year had already broken 70 cents lean.

What is positive that despite all the negative news we have faced the market has held up and recovering as well as it is.

We have read several sources that are saying Mexico’s hog market is 20 per cent of what it was.

We don’t know where people get this. Last Friday Mexico’s Live Hog Market was 17 pesos per kilogram or about 63 cents US per pound live weight. The rest of us just wish we had it so bad. 63 cents US per pound live weight is not a 20 per cent market. We also talked to a packer last week who told us ham demand from Mexico was strong.

Watch the next two weeks we expect rapid hog price appreciation. 70 cents is not too far away. We all need it. The Pork brand has been tarnished but thankfully it appears our domestic consumer takes the ‘pandemic scare’ in perspective. Consumers are immune to disaster talk. They have more faith in the safety of our food supply than our politicians and health officials. It is probably to do with the facts. People eat every day; their personal experience of our food safety gives them real life confidence.

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