I've always been rather fond of pigs. Indeed, amongst one particular group of friends, I am known as "Hoggy" (their children - always paragons of politeness - address me as "Mr. Hogg"). Granted, my fondness for pigs extends to them in both their natural state and their sliced and fried state, but I would never condone needless cruelty and, if pushed by a logical vegetarian, I would limit my consumption to road-kill pigs. It is with sadness, therefore, that I note that the Egyptian Government has ordered the slaughter of all pigs in an effort to prevent the spread of "swine flu".
The WHO have been at pains to point out that there is absolutely no evidence that flu can be caught from eating pig products but such reassurances are having little effect, as neurotic humans quickly decide who the swine in the pack is. Whilst criticising the Egyptian cull. it must be recognised that the damage was done once someone came up with a name for this new strain of flu. The European Union spotted the danger of careless nomenclature a week or so ago and, in an effort to protect the reputation of Danish Bacon (and other such brands), tried to get the outbreak renamed. They came up with a name - "Novel Flu" - which at first sight might appear less open to backlashes, but might well have brought about a spate of public book-burning. However, the idea of EU countries calling for a cull of all Jeffrey Archer books has its attractions.
Any pig with a half decent knowledge of history will have been keeping its porcine head down for some time. They only needed to note how Spaniards were treated during the great "spanish flu" outbreak of 1918 and 1919 to know what was in store. They could also note that the serious attempt to get the outbreak re-named "german flu" (in a believe that it originated in the German trenches in Flanders) came to nothing : once a name had become widespread it is - like flu itself - rather difficult to shake off.
The only advice I can give to my fellow swine is watch your back and, maybe, go in search of a good PR consultant. If we, as a breed, were to employ Max Clifford or the like, perhaps he could start by pointing out that whilst it is very difficult for humans to catch "swine flu" from pigs it appears to be much easier for pigs to catch it from humans. Now how about a cull of all humans? Just to be on the safe side