Jun 11, 2009
If you didn't hear, the World Health Organization has elevated the H1N1A virus (swine flu) to pandemic levels. This prompted WHO Chief Margaret Chan to repeat the now-familiar mantra, “Countries should not close borders or impose travel restrictions to halt the movement of people, goods and services due to a geographical expansion of the virus.”
Looks like Russia didn't get the memo. At least, that would explain why Russian officials have expanded the ban on pork imports from the United States. Last week it was pork from Utah. This week it's Pennsylvanian pork.
Officially, the ban on American pork is supposed to prevent the spread of H1N1A, even if pork does not spread the virus. "That ban on trade is unnecessary,” said Chris Ryder at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Well, it that all depends on your definition of unnecessary, Mr. Ryder. According to RIA Novosti, “A Russian government official earlier [stated] that Russia is not overly concerned with the new pandemic.”
Ok then, maybe the ban is unnecessary. But why American pork?
Clearly, the Kremlin is trying to protect the domestic pig-farming industry by forcing Russian consumers to buy lower-quality Russian pork. However, it also happens to make Russian agricultural officials look backward and ill-informed, since pork products don’t actually transmit H1N1A. Then again, all of this derives from the same government mind-set that once claimed the Soviet Union was free of all STD’s.
None. Zero. Not in the Worker’s Paradise.
More smoked ham anyone?