A news item has just been published in a Guatemalan media outlet that alerted the population not to consume Mexican eggs. The alert came from the Attorney General's Office of Guatemala, which says buying these products promotes the introduction of avian influenza from Mexico to that country. If that happens, it could decimate Guatemala’s egg industry in a very short time.
The problem of smuggling eggs from Mexico to Guatemala is long-standing. Photos of smugglers passing goods (not just eggs) in precarious barges along the Suchiate River, which divides both countries, with everybody watching, including authorities, are common and well known. Smuggling of poultry products is also common in Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, or the Dominican Republic. It is a major problem for the regional poultry industry.
The health problem faced by the Mexican poultry industry is also long-standing. Despite being a very strong industry - the second strongest in Latin America - Mexico is unable to export poultry products as others do. Those are problems for both countries.
But the news item to which I am referring at the beginning of this blog comes from the recommendations of the Guatemalan attorney to the Mercy for Animals video I mentioned some blogs ago. Just like that, out of nowhere. Why did the journalist include this pseudo-information that has nothing to do with egg smuggling and avian influenza? Was it to fill space? If so, she could have filled it up with information from her country's industry and good poultry companies.
I insist that this is misinformation. It is blaming the problem of international surveillance and trade to "overcrowding, rats and manure with worms," as if the farms in Guatemala were not similar to those of any thriving poultry industry in any other country.
This problem of egg smuggling has nothing to do with the alleged lack of well-being of poultry in Mexico. I understand that Guatemala wants to defend and protect its industry, but the media should not use false information. I do not know if animal rights activists know that avian influenza comes from wild birds.
I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating: The industry is doing nothing to combat misinformation.
What do you think?