This is just odd. Really odd. A company called GIANTmicrobes is selling a stuffed swine flu virus. The pink pig snout-like plush toy is a representation of the H1N1 virus, just one of the many viruses and diseases the company recreates in stuffed toy form. The company says they are great learning tools and amusing gifts.

What’s even more odd is that according to one of Atlanta’s morning news programs, 11Alive, this toy can be bought at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Museum’s gift shop in Atlanta. The CDC has a museum with a gift shop and you can buy a stuffed swine flu there!

The Food and Farming Canada blog sees this is an insult to pig farmers who have suffered because consumers are afraid to eat pork products. Sales have fallen since the outbreak of the flu.

A particular slap in the face to hog farmers is that the toy has been named “Swine Flu”, the misnomer quickly attached to H1N1 in its early days. That unfortunate label has caused a lot of damage to hog farmers in North America by mistakenly associating pigs and pork with the new strain of influenza.

Although farmers on both sides of the border have been relentless in their efforts to get the media to call it H1N1, some outlets continue to resist. And gimmicks like this one certainly don’t help the cause.

I have no idea if the stuffed toys will further damage the reputation of pig farmers or not. I just know it’s odd that the stuffed toys exist and the gift shop in CDC headquarters is selling them. It’s a little odd that the CDC has a gift shop. I wonder if you can buy a set of four stuffed venereal diseases there, too, because GIANTmicrobes also makes a gift set of Chlamydia, The Pox, The Clap and Herpes. Odd.

Read more about swine flu on MNN.

Photo: GIANTmicrobes

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