I do not eat pork.
I stopped eating pork when swine flu came about. NO, I did not think I was going to get swine flu from eating pork, as far as I’m concerned flu is flu no matter what combination of letters and numbers you assign it. But why did swine flu make me not want to eat pork? Well, I thought of how similar pigs and humans must have to be to share a virus, and when you think about it, pig corpses are widely used as stand-ins for human bodies in medical and other scientific test scenarios. Pigs are also very intelligent and emotional creatures. They aren’t always the cutest things to look at, and I’ll admit they are damn tasty, but something just doesn’t feel right about eating pork.
Pork is just as healthy as any other meat, when properly cooked it’s a good lean source of protein. But the same can be said about every kind of meat. Dog meat is a healthy staple in eastern countries, and its advocates would probably tell you it’s delicious. Why do we feel that it’s wrong to eat dog meat? Because dogs are smart, dogs are our friends, we wouldn’t raise them to eat them, the dogs would not live fulfilling lives, it’s unjust…etc. But pigs are arguably smarter than dogs, and capable of the same companionship with humans. Pet pigs are nothing new. But we still eat them? Why? Is it because they are uglier than dogs? Because their bodies limit them from doing cute tricks? Let’s face it: pigs are discriminated against.
When you think about the intelligence and emotional complexities of a dog or a pig, it definitely seems wrong to keep them housed in confined pens their entire lives. The life of a factory farm pig is a miserable one. Tails are docked and ears are notched young without anesthesia. The ears are notched for identification (like a UPC code, I guess) and the tails are docked because they get bitten by other pigs. Why do they get bitten? Because they live their entire lives asses to elbows in a crowded pig hell. Sows are kept in cold concrete and metal pens and continually inseminated so they are constantly producing piglets. They bang their heads against their enclosures and bite at the bars. Why? Oh, I dunno, maybe because these naturally social and intelligent creatures are miserable and have nothing to live for other than a swift death.
So aside from the ethical reasons for not eating pork, there have been some unexpected health benefits coming out the decision. I can no longer just walk down the frozen pizza aisle and load my cart with deluxe pizzas, pasta dishes and other prepared foods containing sausage are off-limits, can’t reach for a slim jim at the gas station anymore, I can’t go to cracker barrel and order a plate of biscuits and sausage gravy, and I can’t roll through the drive through and order the latest baconator concoction (I wouldn’t order it anyways). I was never a huge meat eater but in making the decision to cut pork out of my diet, I am forced to think longer about my food purchases, and in return I end up making healthier choices.
I’m not here to tell people what to eat and what not to eat. I do encourage everyone to consider the issue discussed, and please, if you buy pork, buy free range.
Suggested Link | Humane Society of the United States: Pigs: The Underestimated Animal