Articles and Essays, Works in Progress

‘Oink, Oink’ becomes ‘Oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink, oink…’

Let's bring it home.

Let’s bring it home.

I am not a vegetarian, and I believe humans are mostly ultimately biologic omnivores. I have anemia and have a difficult time not eating any meat. Also, I love bacon, despite my half Hebrew heritage. I respect matanza tradition that feeds a whole community with the slaughter of a pig.

I live where many of the nation’s pigs are raised. You can smell the difference. There is a smell of rot, feces, and death when near the factory farms so pervasive in the air it makes most people gag, so thick it can make your eyes sting. Near small family-owned farms, there are just the normal smells of animals and manure. When IBP and [Tyson, &, &, &] Big Pork industrialized meat animal companies moved in to the state, they bought up family farms when the public and family farmers were not knowledgeable of their practices, until they had enough to affect the market price of pork or meat*, so that more and more small farms or family farms could not afford to keep their operations running. But the way they did that was to put TEN TIMES as many pigs into an area as was usual and considered necessary for the health and safety of the pigs. And you could smell the difference.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, incrementally increasingly, the farm-smell out in the country went from an organic manure smell (or an “eww! man-oo-er!” smell if your family is from the city like mine) to a suffocating chemical-y smell that leaves a person feeling sick. This is partly because there is so much more feces in the same amount of space. Well, pee-yew! But besides simple city-slicker nose wrinkling, there is more sulfur, and the waste cannot be treated the same way. These companies use unsafe methods of dealing with the magnitude of animal waste to turn it into manure or dealing with what cannot be turned into manure: see the viral FactoryFarmDrones.com.

Even in relatively smaller family farm operations, because they must buy in to the pork industry methods to make a living, and they use hog confinement to raise pigs for meat, the danger is fatal. Hog confinement is deadly to humans. It has killed four farmers in one month alone in the hog livestock states.

These companies often purposely ignore the rules of pigs allowed per square foot, because the fine or citation or cost of sanction is affordable to them. Additionally, the rules grew more lax on allowances for treatment of animals and health, safety, and sanitation measures for sickness or deaths per capita, dealing with feces, disposing of dead animals, etc. because these companies intensely and forcefully lobby congress–whereas family farmers did not have such political power, but struggled until in order to continue farming or {continue} making a living, each farmer or family would be econmically forced to either sell the land and lease it back to continue running it–under the new rules of meat industry’s company in the area, just like Big Ag and sharecroppers. Nowadays, often the company fully owns the animals and the farmer raises them or “leases” the animals from the company, originally often involving selling the family’s livestock to the company and “leasing” them back to raise them.

*Industrial livestock animal companies also alter the price in behind-the-scenes stock market and finance industry deals or political negotiations. They use other political tactics, too**, muddying the environmental cause with corruption and essentially not just victim-blaming but economically crushing the family farm, yet again.

Meat is infused with the anti-bacterials the livestock animals must be given just to survive in such close quarters and uncomfortable [worse than] sparse [worse than] cold metal pens. Meat is infused with Red #40 that causes sterility. Brits in the U.S. can taste the formaldehyde in the ground beef.

Last but not least, pigs are as smart or smarter than dogs.

Oh, wait, they’re *&%$ing delicious. Then use a local/family hog-raising farm. Save up for eating it if that’s what it takes. Hey, even if you love swine or meat, there’s no need to eat meat for every meal. In fact, eating less of it from having to buy the expensive local, well-fed, humanely treated meat actually means your meat tastes better because less fear and less infection and not living in your own feces your whole life gives that more satisfied pig better meat, for a more satisfied human.


Some o' my sources:
**Here's a poultry example.
Iowa farm independent film from 2011 (on Big Ag corn?) screened in conjunction with local sustainably-sourced food organization
Applied Animal Behaviour journal's article on cows
"Inside a pig farm" video by Animal Equality, via their Facebook page


PIC: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1381013
Updated 07/28/2015

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