The virus, which doesn't affect humans and is not a food safety risk, "kills 80 to 100 percent of piglets that contract it," Davis writes. "Some U.S. meat companies have said that the virus is driving up hog prices and cutting the pork supply by 2 to 4 percent. In the United States, the world's largest pork exporter with a 65.9-million-head hog herd, retail pork prices still hover near record highs, and losses due to the virus are expected to keep boosting hog futures prices. Analysts and traders have estimated up to 4 million pigs died from the virus, but the hog industry does not have an official death toll, because cases are reported voluntarily." Several research facilities are working on vaccines. (Read more) (Human Viruses graphic: Cumulative number of swine samples in the affected US states testing positive for PED)
The Humane Society presented its findings to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout, whose office will investigate the claims, told Patton that feeding piglet remains to sows, "while it seems like a crude practice, it is long-accepted immunization practice. It has a history of being effective, especially in the absence of a vaccine."
"Richard Coffey, director of the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center and a state swine extension professor, said the PED inoculation treatment used by this farm was necessary," Patton reports. He told her, after viewing the video, "I didn't see anything in there that indicated those animals were being abused." (Read more)