January 22, 2007

Lips Stuck On A Pig


If you're really, irrationally attached to your Denny's Extreme Slam breakfast with the all-bacon option, I suggest avoiding this BoingBoing roundup of the evils of the industrial hog farming world.

Also don't read if you're really, irrationally attached to your North Carolina riversful of hog feces.

But let's face it; I was just looking for an excuse to post this photo.

Big Factory Pig Farms Are Some Of America's Worst Polluters [boingboing]


Reading articles like that and becoming a vegan is the easy way out. It's reading those articles and keeping your status an omnivore that's a challenge.

There are some legitimate criticisms of the industrial production of pork in the article. I find the extent of the sensationalism in the article hard to stomach, however.

As one of my first jobs out of college I was a consultant. One of my early gigs was collecting a massive amount of data on public records of a large sample of agrarian pollution discharge incidents. This involved going to a number of state departments of the environment and summarizing documents about discharges from ag facilities (dairies, feed lots, hog farms, broiler houses, egg farms, etc.) Many of the spills were for less than 5-10 gallons of discharge. Rarely was a discharge large enough to kill fish. If it did, the farms were fined and, in some cases, shut down. The boing boing article says these lagoons can discharge when there is light rain. That is not at all true. They smell like shit and are ugly as hell, but the article makes it sound like they are just unmanaged holes of shit. In many states a farmer can get fined for not having their lagoon low enough going into the fall. They can't spread manure on fields in the winter so they have to be able to hold many months of waste in their lagoon. The state environ folks can fine the farmers for not being ready for fall rains. This is just one example of many cases in the article where the facts were highly misconstrued for sensational value.

I really wish the article had focused in on the issues without throwing so much drama into the air. There are things to be concerned about and there is value on proper regulation and supervision. But making extreme claims and using rare examples to represent the average is manipulative and dishonest.


[there are some sensationalistic elements to the report, no doubt. Even moreso in the BB reader add-ons. I believe that's where the term 'vegangelical' comes from. But the environmental damage caused by Hurricane Floyd hitting a stateful of hog lagoons is not open for debate. And the industry is only too happy to accept occasional fines under the current regulatory standards; meanwhile, they lobby and litigate against any new regulation on state or federal levels. here's PBS Newshour's report from 2004 about the current administration's industry-requested footdragging with the EPA. The argument not current regulations are tough enough has to be weighed against 6+ years of the current regulatory/enforcement environment that has been kissing industry ass at every opportunity. And before you dismiss this as just Bush paranoia, remember that NC made its smelly bed in 1992 when it elected an actual hog farmer to the US Senate. -ed.]

I really don't want to read it. I love my bacon.

But... what flickr nutjob let their kid get all up in that pig's bizness?

Andy, good point on the piggy bizness. That kid is licking that hog. Damn. That's nasty, and I don't mean in a good way.

Greg, very articulate ed comments on the bottom of my post. You really should consider penning a "thinking dad's thoughts on pig production." Your thinking seems clear, your points valid, and you seem less fanatical.


[and on top of all that, I'll still probably keep my all-Bacon option at Denny's going, so go figure... -ed.]

That picture made me think of Pulp Fiction...PIGS!

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