Cargill plans H1N1 sow vaccination

Cargill has announced plans to vaccinate its animals against the H1N1 influenza virus.

Cargill spokesman Mark Klein says the company plans to inoculate its entire herd, of about 120,000 pigs, NPR reports. Minnesota-based Cargill is the US's eighth-largest hog producer.

"One of the vaccine producers has a conditional license and may be able to ship as early as November," Klein said. "We're hoping that's the case because we have our routine semi-annual vaccination program for our sow herds in December. And so we would be looking to incorporate that at that time."

Once the sows are vaccinated, they will pass on H1N1 immunity to their offspring.

The USDA is hoping that the vaccination will prevent the human strain of the virus from becoming prevalent in the hog population and mutating into some new virus. Hogs, NPR reports, are susceptible to both human and swine influenza, as well as viruses that affect poultry and other birds. That can lead to the creation of a virus that can be more dangerous to humans.

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