Robert L. Peters

22 April 2008

Time to raise a little stink!


Winnipeg, Canada

Lately, I’ve been thinking about hogs more than I care to—and don’t get me wrong, I’m no lover of pigs. I stopped eating pork (and beef, and bison, and mutton, and poultry) over twenty years ago, after seeing first-hand how factory farms had preempted traditionally sustainable animal husbandry with mechanistic meat-production methods (in which short-sighted profit extraction came first, regardless if that meant treating animals cruelly, pumping them full of medications (anti-biotics, growth hormones, etc.), and incorporating unwholesome shortcuts in feed production (think mad cow disease). Although I still eat cheese, seafood, and occasionally wild meat (living in the woods, I do occasionally harvest a deer), I am resolutely and ethically opposed to the mistreatment of animals and to the profit-first methods of corporate agribusiness. (18 months ago, we helped spearhead a successful[!] viral marketing campaign [broken link] to consolidate public outrage against the inane proposal of the OlyWest consortium to build a massive hog slaughter plant here in St. Boniface, a back-room deal concocted by Winnipeg’s back-room dealing mayor Sam Katz).

I’m embarrassed about the fact that here in Manitoba (a formerly pristine Canadian province the size of Germany and Italy combined) with a population of just over a million human beings, we have a resident population of over eight million caged hogs(!). Two months ago, news of the largest meat recall in U.S. history came across the wires. The root cause of the recall? Animal abuse, and the blending of bruised animals with otherwise safe meat. Two weeks ago, a massive fire on a Hutterite hog farm north of Winnipeg killed over 8000 caged and terrified animals (just thinking about their agony makes me sick). Adding insult to injury, driving home from work this past week, I was horrified to hear that our federal government had just announced that it will pay pork producers $50 million to kill off 150,000 of their pigs by the fall, as the (bloated, non-sustainable) industry now teeters on the brink of economic collapse. The animals will be destroyed at slaughter plants and on pig farms in a bid to cull the swine breeding herd by 10 per cent—what a waste, and so regrettable!

Oh… and happy Earth Day!

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