A friend of mine sent me a link to a Rolling Stone article criticizing the American pig farmer. Before you click on that link, let me caution you that it is pretty graphic and I am still nauseated by the images portrayed. If you have eaten anything with pork in it in the last 4 hours, you should probably wait.
Typically, I am a proud supporter of the ag industry and have little aversion to eating meat. However, I made the unfortunate choice of eating sausage this morning before reading the article. Tasty sausage, though it was, this article exposes some of the less glamorous truths about pig farms (are there any glamorous truths?).
The particular pig farm Rolling Stone wrote about was Smithfield Farms in Smithfield, Virginia. That particular farm is one of the largest pig farms in the United States, slaughtering 27 million hogs each year for an $11 billion profit.
Another notable number is that they spilled approximately 4 million gallons of pig excrement waste into Virginia rivers and streams and have allegedly leaked much more into ground water. This is in addition to the overpowering fecal smell surrounding the plant that is so lethal pigs and men have both died from the smell.
The article reads much like a less socialist excerpt from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and I made the very same mistake President Teddy Roosevelt was purported to do: eating sausage for breakfast before reading the dirty truths of the meat industry. Seriously, I could have done without reading about pig shit this morning.