Pork, the Other Downer Meat
In a recent article in Farm Week, pork producers are patting themselves on the back for all the love they’re showing their pigs.
“We’ve had … activist groups that have gone after the pork industry,” said Neil Dierks, CEO of the NPPC. “But when you look at how the industry has developed its (production) practices, we’re doing the right thing. The problem is we’re not telling anyone about it.”
I’m curious about what, exactly, it is they’re not telling us. Could Dierks be referring to the recent lawsuit in California that would make it alright to drag non-ambulatory, downer, pigs “too weak or stressed to stand up” to slaughter despite a state law to the contrary?
That’s right. In yet another blatant example of the meat industry’s complete disregard for animal suffering and a lack of concern for food safety over profit, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill ruled that a federal food safety law that prevents this from happening means nothing.
Last year there was an acknowledgement from the industry that pigs arriving at slaughter are often sick and injured due to both a lack of love on the farm and grueling transport. Now they’re saying the pigs aren’t sick, they’re just injured or don’t feel like marching into the slaughterhouse, but with a little rest they’ll be fine.
Right, maybe if they spend the night at the Four Seasons, they’ll be perfectly up to it the next day. Given the attitude of the pork industry, they find that is perfectly acceptable to kick, prod and electrocute these animals right down to the last minute of their miserable lives, after they’ve suffered on factory farms and for days packed on top of each other during transport with no food or water.
A former pig transporter told PETA that pigs are “packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually comes out.” Clearly pork producers are very concerned about animal welfare.
Of course, when every animal is treated like a dollar sign, sick ones are going to get into the food supply too. And we all know by now that stressed and sick animals have a much greater risk of harboring bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella, which kill hundreds of people every year.
Studies in the International Journal of Cancer and the Diabetologia have also linked pork products to cancer and diabetes.
With about 100 million pigs being slaughtered each year, that amounts to a whole lot of suffering for animals that, despite the stigma that they’re just dirty animals, are actually quite clean and intelligent. They bond with each other and can even play video games.
Next time you go for that ham sandwich, ask yourself which pig you got. Was it a sick one? Or just crippled.
On that note…
Sign Care2’s Petition to ask restaurants to offer more vegetarian options here.