As the Government confirmed the first UK death as a result of swine flu, the husband of the first US citizen to die of the disease is seeking information from the world’s largest pork producer and processor, with a view to taking legal action against the company.
Steven Trunnell has filed a petition seeking to determine whether there is enough evidence to file a wrongful death lawsuit against US company Smithfield Foods, part-owner of the pig farm in La Gloria, Mexico, where the disease is thought to have originated.
Granjas Carroll de Mexico, a mega-farm that employs an industrial technique known as Confined Animal Feeding Operations, produces and processes as many as a million animals a year. Residents of La Gloria have spoken of the ‘manure lagoons’ emanating from the facility, which they blame for a range of illnesses.
Judy Dominguez Trunnell, contracted swine flu and died in May. Eight months pregnant at the time, doctors delivered her baby by caesarean section.
Now her husband is asking a Texas court to authorise depositions of Smithfield officials, employees and agents to investigate whether the company has a case to answer.
‘There may be evidence which links the creation of the newest strain of the deadly swine flu… with Smithfield Foods’ humongous pig farm operation in Mexico, which under the joint control of Smithfield Foods, has been allowed to lapse into a breeding ground of immense unsanitary proportions for a deadly virus,’ his petition reads.
Smithfield denies any link between its farming operations in Mexico and the outbreak of swine flu.
The Scottish Government confirmed the first UK death from swine flu earlier this month. Jacqui Fleming was a patient at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and had been suffering underlying medical problems when she died. Another 10 patients are still being treated there for swine flu.