There was a short discussion on Radio 4's Today programme this morning (listen again for a few more days here - it was on at 08.41) between two men who didn't like the name swine flu, but for different reasons. The first chap, Stewart Houston, was the chairman of the National Pig Association, which represents pig farmers, and he didn't like the name because he felt it gave pigs a bad name, and moreover, might put people off buying pork and bacon. He was being interviewed along with Steven Poole, author of Unspeak, a book about the language of politics. He felt that swine flu was too ridiculous a name for such a serious thing and that the public was reassured if serious phenomena, such as illnesses, had a serious-sounding technical name, such as H1N1, which is what the Americans have started calling swine flu.
The European Commission is worried about the adverse effect the name swine flu may have on the pork industry and so has decided to call the disease 'novel flu' - which certainly doesn't sound technical and/or reassuring. Other countries are calling it Mexican flu.
The UK tabloid The Sun refers to it as pig flu, I noticed. Perhaps they think their readers won't understand the word 'swine'. Swine is certainly an odd word to use; it sounds biblical or archaic, or possibly even slightly poetic - swineherd sounds more romantic than pig farmer. It's more likely to be used as a mild, again old-fashioned, term of abuse - You swine (ie you contemptible person). Interestingly, it's not a new word, coined specially for this outbreak. It is in the 2nd edition (1989) of the Oxford English Dictionary (as is swine influenza).