“Oh, for the Love of Bacon!” my husband exclaimed when I brought up factory pig farming and why I’m against it. I saw a picture on Facebook about the way they keep pigs in small cages, just lying there looking miserable and – well, caged! The image stuck with me for days. It really made me rethink where my food was coming from.
What if we saw dogs kept in row after row of tiny cages? People would start a coalition against it. Is this because we love dogs and have them in our homes? We would never see them as food, never keep them solely as a resource for our needs and therefore treat them like nonliving things. We have formed bonds with our pet animals and see them as members of the family.
What about farm animals? Farmers must have to turn a cold eye to their livestock because if they started thinking about them as creatures with souls and feelings then they couldn’t sleep at night. I guess I’m not even talking about family farms – I actually know of farms where the animals are fed well and kept in wide open spaces with their own families. I’m talking about the practice of factory farming, where they have warehouses full of cages for animals to “live” out their entire lives. This is the reality of where most of America’s meat comes from.
They are called CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) Doesn’t that sound nice? The goal is not to have happy, healthy animals but to have big, fat carcasses to sell as fast as possible. So these factories that “grow” pigs have figured out that they can get maximum capacity by stacking cages and feeding the pigs fattening diets of wheat, soy and corn (which are most likely Genetically Modified and subsidized by the US government, by the way) and consumers are none the wiser.
TIME TO WAKE UP PEOPLE.
According to an article on the Mercola.com website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/03/28/cafo-vs-organic-farm-environment.aspx “The vast majority of the nearly 66 million pigs raised for food in the United States are raised on CAFOs, where they are subject to mental and physical anguish, not to mention subject to incredibly unhealthy practices, like the administration of low-dose antibiotics and living in their own waste – People living near hog CAFOs are exposed to odorous emissions linked to decreased lung function, cardiovascular ailments, neurological problems, asthma, and premature death; drinking water is also often contaminated by animal waste runoff – Corporate-owned CAFOs have been highly promoted as the best way to produce food for the masses, but the only reason CAFOs are able to remain so “efficient” is because they substitute government-subsidized crops for pasture grazing; many small farms, however, produce their own forage without government assistance – To protect your health, the environment, and animal welfare, support the small family farms in your area, particularly organic farms that respect the laws of nature and use the relationships between animals, plants, insects, soil, water and habitat to create synergistic, ethical, self-supporting, non-polluting, GMO-free ecosystems“
I know most people don’t want to think about these unpleasantries, you love your bacon, and maybe you trust that someone is in charge of patrolling how safe your food is. Well, the USDA is obviously paid off by “Big Farm Industries” and isn’t that interested in the details of their practices.
You will see grass-fed beef and antibiotic-free chicken at the grocery store, but where is the healthy, organic pork? Very hard to find there.
However, it’s not as hard as you might think to find other places to get your food! You can locate a farm in your area that has healthy farming practices and will happily inform you of the difference. How nice is it to go to your local farmer’s market and shop among your neighbors for homegrown, handmade items?
Locally growing and sharing was the way people got food for centuries before the mass producing, corporate profiteering, confined animal food industry took over.
Go to these websites to search for healthy, family farms in your area:
If you don’t want to think about the health of the animal before it became your ham sandwich, maybe you can think about how it affects your own health. It’s well documented that pigs are as smart as dogs and have the mental age of about a 3 year old child – so they are aware of their conditions. In CAFOs they are not allowed to act like pigs. They don’t get to socialize, roll in mud or root and graze outside. I can only imagine that they are depressed. That energy is what you are eating. You’re eating despair and depression. Not to mention the unhealthy diet of grains that are fed to the pigs. They aren’t eating grass or vegetables, they’re stuffed with cheap, GMO grains, in order to get them to 250 pounds for slaughter. Yum yum.
Now that you know that there are choices to get free range pork, without antibiotics – are you willing to take the extra time to change your habits? Can you see the benefits?
My preferred local, organic source is Hammock Farms, Brooksville, Florida www.HammockFarmGourmet.com
Here’s a picture of their happy little piggies! They live in a shady farm surrounded by forest. They came running up to us when we visited and were quite vocal.
Check out their website for more information. They are really nice people who care about everything they do. Hammock Farms is Animal Welfare Approved which means they adhere to strict guidelines and yearly inspections. They feed their animals soy-free, organic feed – which costs 3 times as much and is not subsidized by the government.
Why? Because they believe in raising animals according to the highest welfare standards. It just makes sense. You are what you eat.
I am not going to raise my own pigs, cows or chickens anytime soon – but I would like to support those who are doing it with integrity and the health of animals, as well as people, in mind.
Maya Angelou liked to say: “When you know better, you do better”
Of course, it’s your choice. But now you know.