Pork

Pet Pig by Arnicas on Flickr

"Pet Pig" by Arnicas on Flickr

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

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3 responses

  1. We’ve been talking moving to free-range food for a bit now. Once you learn more about how they’re treated and what it does to the food, it just makes sense. I wouldn’t single pigs out here. I think it’s just as relevant for chickens and cows and any other meat.

    It’s an interesting question why dogs and cats are immune to our carnivorous tendencies. If I was taking a completely uneducated guess, I’d say dogs helped with the hunt, so they were given a place of honor and safety. And cats… well cats are just useless. Catching rodents maybe? Having rats was a big deal before modern medicine right? I don’t know.

    Anyway, I agree with you. Cheers.

    • I do feel crappy for singling out pigs, I know other livestock animals are equally mistreated. But if I were to truly boycott all factory farming I would either have to go full vegetarian or stop eating out. I can’t control where my favorite resturaunts get their meat. 😦
      I focus on pork because of their high intelligence compounded with the way they are treated. Also, I’ve had an aversion to pork since I was a child. It looks like people meat. I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortably cannibalistic when I ate pork.
      So it’s personal preference and high regard for the animal plus the ethical reasons.

  2. I suspect the main reason for eating Pigs, Cows, etc is that they really aren’t serving another purpose. Also, they are larger than dogs and thus provide more ROI. Last, they are decently lazy. You feed them and…well…feed them. There is obviously more to it, but these are the things I can think of off the top of my head.

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