“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 npr.org. 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