We’ll Eat the Pig, But We Won’t Drink the Blood

Would you like sparkling water, bottled still water or blood water?

That is the question restaurants in Dallas should be asking diners thanks to a slaughterhouse that has been dumping pig’s blood into a local river. “Dallas County health officials say photos investigators took show blood appearing to flow from the Columbia Packing Company [CPC] into Cedar Creek and then into the Trinity River,” the local CBS affiliate reported. The Dallas Morning News ran a photo of a local creek running dark red with blood.

CPC’s violations were so severe that the slaughterhouse was shut down, and recently CPC and two of its officers were indicted. “Former owner Joseph Ondrusek and his vice president Donny Ondrusek both face water pollution and evidence tampering physical evidence charges,” CBS DFW reports. The company faces fines of $1.5 million and the officers could be sentenced to prison time — one of them faces a maximum sentence of 50 years.

Councilman Dwaine Caraway said these measures may not have been necessary were it not for CPC’s complete disregard for the law. “The evidence proves they disregarded, disrespected, bullied the community,” he told CBS DFW. Dallas officials said an investigation revealed “a hidden pipe used to bypass a sewer monitoring device” in order to dump the blood into a creek.

Slapping a corporate executive with up to 50 years in prison is not a common thing in the U.S. of A. It suggests a populace that is well and truly pissed off.

I don’t think it is water pollution alone that has people quite so riled. Note this Care2 article: Polluters Dump 226 Million Pounds of Toxins into U.S. Rivers. Slaughterhouses are among the worst polluters of American waterways, and water pollution is nearly commonplace. So what has people in a tar-and-feather mood in this particular instance?

It’s the blood.

Blood grosses people out. We use fake blood liberally on Halloween to scare each other, and in movies for a thrill. It is never commonplace and almost always draws a reaction, whether it is our own or someone else’s. The more blood there is, the more disgusted or horrified we are, and this case involved a lot of blood — take another look at the photo. Yuck, right?

There are cultures that eat blood — on purpose. Blood pudding, anyone? No thanks, right? Much as Americans love our vampires, we have not embraced blood on a culinary level.

But wait a minute. People eat pig’s flesh all the time, though not long before that flesh was pulsing with blood. And I’ve got news for the non-kosher out there: when you eat that flesh, you are eating blood. Not much, maybe, but some. Pigs’ throats are slit at slaughter and they are bled, but not enough to clear out their entire cardiovascular systems. Kosher meat doesn’t contain blood, but it takes some effort to make it that way.

Blood is an inevitable and copious byproduct of killing and eating animals. Most of us don’t see it, or the other gruesome things that go on in slaughterhouses, because they are usually not in residential centers.

That doesn’t mean these things aren’t happening, and they are happening solely because people eat meat. “You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity,” Ralph Waldo Emerson noted. Albert Schweitzer asked humanity to “think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

But people don’t want to do that. So when a photograph in the newspaper forces them to, the individuals responsible find themselves looking at 50 years in the slammer, where they will be “concealed in the graceful distance of miles.”


Related Stories:

Polluters Dump 226 Million Pounds of Toxins into U.S. Rivers

Poll Finds N.C. Residents Don’t Want Factory Poultry Farm

Where’s the EPA When Our Water is Full of It?



Dale O.

I see the vampire brigade is in full force below. Intriguing. Is that cooked or uncooked? Some do eat blood sausages in parts of the world. Of course if one eats pineapple one drinks the juice but most people aside from the Inuit (or Eskimo as Americans often call them) and a few others cook their meat aside from some who eat steak tartare.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago

With a staggering 60 billion animals killed each year for human consumption,i say you should be drinking their blood as well. Pigs are so intelligent and social animals...the meat indusrty is absolutely disgusting.

Alicia Guevara
Alicia Guevara5 years ago

"Slaughterhouses are among the worst polluters of American waterways", Did not know. Tks for the info. (I'm a vegetarian).

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Julimar C.
Julimar C5 years ago

Bravo, Diane and Dale O.! Couldn't have said it better myself. I think even the author is missing the point that this is about pollution, not animal rights. Drinking polluted water is not the same as eating cooked meat. I highly respect vegetarians and vegans and it annoys me when some of those won't respect omnivores.

Andrew C.
Andrew C5 years ago

I hope the owner and the vice president get the book thrown at them! This is horrible and very disturbing.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

Blood should at least be kept out of the public water supply. Some towns do such a thorough job of treating the municipal water supply before distributing it, that whatever was in the water when they took it from the stream is taken out and what is added is pretty much what higher levels of government insist that they add, including sodium fluoride which is supposed to protect teeth from decay but also makes teeth more brittle and likely to get broken biting too hard on something.

galina m.
galina Med5 years ago

An interesting article and also comments.

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

Well said, Diane L.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

"Dale O, and we get tired of people constantly trying to justify the torture and brutality that goes with raising animals for food. As for those of you who don't like seeing animal welfare stories. This is Care2, a site for people who actually care about a species other than their own".........news flash, Cassandra, WE who are not vegan get tired of YOU vegans who insist on dictating to everone else what they should or should not eat. Nobody justifies the abuse at factory farms and the slaughterhouses they use, and that includes those of us who are not vegan. Yes, this is Care.2, and in case you missed it, it is NOT a site for only vegans. Vegans don't have a monopoly on CARING and their views are not the only ones allowed.

This topic is not even to address the cruelty at the abbatoirs being discussed, and we should all realize that the photo is meant to do nothing but shock. Blood doesn't look like that in water except when freshly "dropped" from a fresh laceration.