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Could some people be wronged by contracting swine flu? A case discussion on the links between the farm animal sector and human disease
  1. Jan Deckers
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jan Deckers, Institute of Health and Society, Baddiley-Clark Building, The Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK; jan.deckers{at}


This paper uses the imaginary case of Gemma, presented initially at the International Swine Flu Conference (London, March 2010), to discuss whether a nurse who disagrees with most ways in which animals are farmed would be wronged if she contracted swine flu. It is argued that the farm animal sector has contributed to the emergence of H1N1 flu, and that the sector in general contributes significantly to the burden of human disease. The aim of this paper is to promote debate on the question as to whether a range of systems used by the farm animal sector survive moral scrutiny in light of these concerns.

  • Agriculture
  • animal production
  • cultural pluralism

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.