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Getting to Know Your Bacon

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Getting to Know Your Bacon

By Jeff Opperman, The Nature Conservancy

While visiting friends in Toronto, I spotted a small poster tacked behind their toaster that read: “Bacon is like a little hug from God.

So true, I thought, smiling at how much I love those little hugs. But for so many reasons — cardiac health, the environment and humane farming practices — eating bacon often seems more like making out with the devil.

But I’ve found one way to wrest bacon away from the dark side and restore it to its rightful place as divine embrace: I mostly eat bacon that comes from pigs that I can visit. Pigs that lounge happily in sun-dappled mud puddles. Pigs that forage for acorns and hickory nuts and stand proudly on the edge of a meadow like some porcine version of Elsa (the lion from Born Free).

I’ve directly witnessed all of these piggish pursuits during annual visits to “our” farm in Wayne County, Ohio. My family and I are part of a dairy co-op and, along with the milk, we get much of our yogurt, beef, pork, poultry, eggs and various other products (e.g., maple syrup) from this one family farm.

We belong to the co-op for a lot of reasons, including a preference for supporting local family farms, access to fresh, healthy food and, as described above, the psychic comfort of knowing that our carnivorous tendencies are sustained by animals that live like, well, animals and not as cogs in some brutal industrial machine.

Here’s another reason for supporting farms like our co-op: lower impacts on lakes and rivers. Agriculture is one of the major sources for water pollution in the United States. I do not mean to demonize agriculture — we can’t live without it, of course. Global agriculture is what feeds 7 billion people…which means it’s the most fundamentally important activity on the planet. It can also never be free of environmental impacts.

But agriculture can always strive to reduce those impacts.

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6:26AM PST on Dec 24, 2011

Dep You are so right when you say: 'It's not likely anyone could make the claim that the rest of the world should or could go without eating meat. That is a profoundly dangerous thing to imply.'

I know many people who got very sick on the vegan diet and many of us have permanent damage to our body systems.
I don't recommend it to anyone. Some people can manage to thrive on it, but many are either obese or have eating disorders and are not optimally healthy.
The vegetarian diet is much safer and more nutritionally balanced, but the Mediterranean diet seems to keep proving itself to be the most healthy diet.

8:02PM PST on Dec 23, 2011

Dep P, speaking for myself and every vegan I have ever met I will attest
to the fact that since we omitted animals from our diets we eat more of
a variety of tasty, nutritious foods than we ever did when we ate meat.
I have happily learned to become more creative in the kitchen and am
always learning new food/recipe ideas. One thing I have observed is that
most meat eaters tend to stick to the same foods and rarely try anything
different, whereas most vegans are constantly seeking new and exciting
foods to try. We NEVER get tired of the foods we eat.

Also, our bodies are not exactly designed to eat animal corpses. They are
better designed to eat plants. Check out The Comparative Anatomy of Eating:

The fact that heart disease is the NUMBER ONE cause of death in the U.S.
and meat and animal products are causing heart disease, speaks volumes.
Meat consumption is linked to SEVERAL serious diseases. A well balanced, whole foods, organic, non GMO plant based diet isn't linked to ANY serious diseases.

10:57AM PST on Dec 23, 2011


11:51PM PST on Dec 22, 2011

It's not likely anyone could make the claim that the rest of the world should or could go without eating meat. That is a profoundly dangerous thing to imply.
Peoples chemistries are different and go beyond the foolish ideas of the length of our intestines as though we're not made to eat meat. We are. We are because we have got the hydrochloric acid to break down whole proteins and the enzymes to tag each amino acid.
In order to eat otherwise would mean eating and or gazing all day long on veggies and nuts that you will get sick of.
It requires creativity all right. All the time. I don't know about any of you, but, I don't have that desire or time eating nuts and what ever other of anything to get my protein out of.
I can only imagine getting tired of food completely.

5:57PM PST on Dec 20, 2011

Hard issue...

9:53AM PST on Dec 20, 2011

I'm NOT preaching, but you know why both Judaism and Islam ban the consumption of pigs? Now that was thousands of years ago when man had no real science, nothing, but guess what modern science proved? That no matter how well you cook this animal's parts, they still contain this tape worm that its' born with.
Again, not preaching, and I believe people who say it tastes great, but its not exactly a "clean" animal, you know? :/

7:51AM PST on Dec 20, 2011

Getting to Know Your Bacon? Hmmmm...

6:19AM PST on Dec 20, 2011

Great article. I eat very little meat and do not mind if others do and love the humane living. Pork is last on the list but I am definitely having Cuban sandwiches for the holidays this year but clean living kind of pork.

6:03AM PST on Dec 20, 2011

Mmmm I love bacon!!!!!

6:19PM PST on Dec 18, 2011

I only eat happy animals...

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