The Case Against Pork

“Their sides stuck out through the bars; they could not turn around. They could not move in any way at all and that’s the way those pigs basically lived their entire life.”

Fortuitously, I randomly turned on NPR and a research journalist named Barry Estabrook was presenting a detailed report on pig farming. It seems like bacon and other pig-related meats have significantly increased in popularity. Being a vegetarian, I of course view this through my biased lens. I followed up by reading the report, which can be found at It ain’t pretty and not for the feeble or delicate of heart. However, it is a story that needs to be told so that informed people can make their own decisions.

A sample of the report:

“Of all the things I saw, the thing that hit me the hardest, twisted my guts the hardest was when I walked into a low, dark barn in Iowa and in that barn there were 1,500 sows, pregnant female pigs and they were all in individual cages that were too small to hold them… When they did have their babies they would move into something called a ‘farrowing crate’ which allowed the sow no more room to move, and you take these intelligent, inquisitive, emotional creatures and confine them to a lifetime – it would be like being confined to a coffin for a lifetime or worse than your dog being confined to its travel case for a lifetime. But that’s the way 80 percent of the sows in this country live their entire life.”

It was 45 years ago that I was a graduate student at UWM and read a similar expose on the meat industry. I went home and shared it with my wife and close friends. Very quickly we all committed to a vegetarian diet. Little did I realize that a new world of savory vegetarian cuisine was about to open up and enhance my life.

Food for thought

4 thoughts on “The Case Against Pork

  1. My grandpa and grandma were talented sausage-makers, always delicious treats in the German tradition. They used only their own pork, raised by them, in a low, dark “pig barn.” The floor was thick with clean straw and there was a large, fenced muddy yard for them to wallow in, as they need for their tender skin. They were fed “slop” but it was clean — corn in milk as I remember, but I was small when they moved from the farm so probably am missing something. One time they butchered while I was there but we kids were forbidden from watching or participating. We heard the single rifle shot but did not see the event. Later we all participated in making all kinds of meat products. The hams went into the smoke house that was partially buried in the ground and had spaces between the slats on the sides.

    The careful raising of pigs and the butchering event were powerful and meaningful; I feel privileged to have known this part of rural life, and miss the elders in my family very much. I feel my grandparents honored their pigs by providing a clean home and good food for them, and not allowing them to suffer at any stage of their lives and deaths.

  2. Commercial animal production is sick,
    Immoral and capitalism without a conscience plus it will
    Make you sick just like the animals you eat.

  3. Although I don’t think we ever ate pork, but the report is so disgusting as was the report on beef that caused us to become vegetarians so very long ago!!

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