The Problems with Smithfield Pork and the Way to Guilt-Free-ish Bacon

Categories: Whimsy

farm_pig.jpg
Be nice to her before you fry her delicious parts.
McDonald's is closing out its second week of McRib season, giving the Atlantic a hook to ponder the evils of its pork supplier, Smithfield Foods. The article points out that in the midst of Smithfield's increased welfare practices intended to ensure livestock are treated humanely, the Humane Society of the United States has filed a legal complaint against the mega pork producer, alleging the media blitz has been misleading consumers.

HSUS's complaint alleges that videos created by Smithfield are "replete with false and/or misleading representations -- both express and implied -- about Smithfield's animal welfare and environmental practices." About two hours after the article published, the Atlantic updated the post with a response from Smithfield, which claims no wrong doing and that an "objective assessment of our practices would conclude that Smithfield and our employees are behaving in a socially responsible manner."

A major point of contention in the legal complaint are the gestation crates Smithfield and other large pork producers use to breed the pigs. The small, cramped confines were designed to minimize fighting amongst pregnant, scrappy sows, but the side effects from being confined in such a way are sobering.

Sweden and the UK have banned the use of these crates. The European Union has banned or limited their use starting in 2013. In the US, Florida, Arizona, California and other states have instituted bans. Texas isn't one of them.

In 2007, Smithfield acquiesced to public pressure and announced that it would phase out the use of gestation crates in all of its company-owned farms over a 10-year period. Three years later, though, it pulled back, saying it would not be able to execute the transition because of reduced sales. But that's bullshit: Other large producers have voluntarily phased out the crates, too. I think the largest pork producer in the world should be able to figure it out.

Of course sitting around waiting for a large corporation make a significant change without economic incentive is like watching the Texas sky for rain. Vote with your wallet instead. The next time you see Smithfield in your meat case remember this video, which details the practice. Then go find a small, local butcher that cares about the products they source.

Rudolph's in Deep Ellum, who we just profiled through pictures this morning, sources its swine from Eden Farms in Iowa. Products from farms that use heritage stock and good practices are incredibly different from the pork you buy at a regular grocery store. Berkshire pork is fatty (the good kind) and has a well developed flavor and a rich rosy hue. It was never supposed to be the other white meat.

Anyway, now you've got another reason to pay your old school butcher a visit.


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21 comments
twinwillow
twinwillow

Do yourselves a favor and rent "Food Inc". The living (if you want to call it, living) condition of animals (fowl and mammals) are subject to being raised in such a way that would make Auschwitz look like Disneyland.

Krego's Evil Spaceship
Krego's Evil Spaceship

Look, I'm not trying to be gross, but, I saw this pig and it made me harken back to a horrible incident that happened this morning.  I was, lets say, ummmm "bound up", and I had a jolt of that ole extra stout Joe, which set off events like a NASA experiment.  When I was finished, I had to go to the garage, get the waders on, AND the yellow rainboots. I then summarily had to jump on and rekill that solid, angry turd from hell.  When it was dead, I dismantled it, and flushed said stinker with the traditional "3 flush" ceremonial.  What's greater than a turd poking out of the terlit water-I WIN!

Kergo 1 Sapceship
Kergo 1 Sapceship

Facon bacon-yuck!  Tastes like dog sh$t.  Tried ToFurkey also-bleck!  Methinks vegans:

-need a bath-need a shave-are probably starving-need to eat a nice, juicy St. Louis pork rib; slathered in homemade BBQ sauce (tomato sauce, ketchup, lemon juice, Tabasco, secret ingredients). 

Go humans! www.hirschsmeats.com/

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Kind of toeing that line of good taste with an Auschwitz comparison, aren't you? Shock value?

I've seen (and read) Food Inc, and did see and read some rather disturbing things. I also agree that there's a large percentage of the meat industry's ways that are either questionable or deplorable, but I think I'll stop before equating a cow's existence to a human's. Call me biased, call a cow really tasty, but don't exaggerate things that much.

Everyone needs to read or see Food Inc just to open their eyes, but its mileage may vary as to how it will change you. It won't stop me from eating meat, but it did alter my thinking of where I get it from.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Seen it-okay, now I'm going down to Jake's for a Flamin' Rooster.  Like I tell my kids, "this stuff comes from somewhere".  We have lost a sense of our great past with this current generation that has grown up without the "reality" of eating meat, the wholesomeness of just sitting by a campfire without electronics, and the common ideal inbred in us to walk and, and explore.  Playing vidja games eff head, will make you great at,,,,,,ummmm?......nothing!  No discerning skills; no witful fodder; no sense of morbid and graceful reality.   Hmmm, sounds like a complete person!

ps-These kids today will save the earth (and I concur with this notion), but, not themselves. 

James
James

Kergo, your tired stereotypes are pathetic. If you want to eat meat and could give a shit that the animal suffered, fine - but don't tear others down because they actually show a little compassion. Trust me - you're in the minority on this (luckily for humankind). 

twinwillow
twinwillow

Regarding the last paragraph of your post is what I had in mind.Thank you.

cp
cp

If nothing else, the old saying "you are what you eat" holds true. What's better for people to be healthier? A battered, bruised up unhappy animal that is so stir crazy that it rubs sores on itself, or a healthy animal? I'm not trying to be a karmic cosmos hippy here, just being objective and a little logical. 

twinwillow
twinwillow

Believe me, I'm far from a vegetarian. It's the inhumane conditions how our (animal) food is raised is what troubles me.

Ms. T
Ms. T

Funny that you say that...just the other night I was hanging with my friends who have two boys, ages 5 and 4. They had gotten them fish from Long John Silvers, and because the boys were kinda picking at their plates and not really eating, I made a joke along the lines of "that fish died for your meal, the least you can do is eat it." To which the parents gasped and said "you're going to scare my kid into not eating meat anymore!" Uh...was just making a joke, but the food on your plate does actually come from somewhere and isn't it better that kids aren't fucking stupid and assume that food comes from the Grocery Store Fairy? Sometimes I wonder if American parents today are actually part of a secret society dedicated to ensuring the stupidity of future generations.

Krego's Evil Lair
Krego's Evil Lair

I like it except for Poland.............no country brings less to the table than Poland; well maybe Mexico, and Portugal.

Kergo's Mighty Spaceship
Kergo's Mighty Spaceship

OK Hippy,  This is an eloquent way I would have written this:

The animal-torn, weeping, with a thousand souls cast down upon has barren, leaking heart; there, screaming across the desert floor, his unhappy and bruised carcass living a torrid death like a mute scenario.........with a crazy, and battered mind, and sores that looked like Poland (or some other useless mid Euro country). 

Kergo 1 Sapceship
Kergo 1 Sapceship

What?  dude, The OccupyPOULTRY blog is two doors down-freak!  Take a bath, have sandwich, and put down the weed.......we'll talk when yer sober.  

Talking Points:-unhappy-bruised-crazy-battered-sores

ps-OK buddy, you passed the 6th grade descriptive writing course.

Kergo 1 Sapceship
Kergo 1 Sapceship

Welp, I guess I'm not afflicted by this malady.........matter of choice sir. I understand people are concerned.........mmmmmmm..........ok.  I am more concerned with kids being held subject to computers, and vidja games; losing there inherited ideals, and problem solving skills we have used since we crawled out of the ocean.  

ps-When my Kergie mom took me to Hart's Turkey Farm (Route 11-New Hampshire) when I was a yankee kid, the first time I saw them snap said gobblers neck; the necks (he he) time they were zapping em with live wires. Killing is killing!

twinwillow
twinwillow

I'm glad my food doesn't come from LJS.

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