My hog farming days are far in the past, but my memories contain snapshots of newborn pigs under the glow of a heat lamp, escaped pigs that turned us kids into juvenile Keystone Cops, and Saturday poo pitchin’ sessions that had me wondering if I’d make it out of my teen years without a certain manure scratch-and-sniff label attached to me.
Several recent articles have me looking back–and forward–as the pork production business undergoes rapid change.
(1) Let’s start with a rather contentious one: An Indiana confinement dispute symbolizes the struggle between industrial hog farms and folks in the neighborhood. And this blog provides more articles and commentary about the debates involving hog production practices.
(2) Odor seems to play a major role in pig talk. A team of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists has developed an online tool to help livestock and poultry producers compare odor mitigation techniques that could be useful on their farms.
(3) Some food companies are pressuring hog producers regarding certain practices. Starbuck’s announced a sweeping animal welfare standards policy. And Chipotle made news as it suspended pork purchases from certain pork production facilities. Both corporate actions have garnered mixed reactions.
(4) And with the Super Bowl coming soon, an advertisement featuring a flying pig does not seem out of the ordinary. In this one, a farm kid will do anything for a Dorrito–including sending a pig airborne.
I like pigs, but I’m happy as a hog in fresh clover that I don’t have to take care of them. I have a lot of respect for those who put their all into pork production, and I think farmers, food companies, and consumers will work out ways to keep hog farms safe, affordable, and humane. I’ll rely on them to figure out what’s best for the pigs.
Like I said, I agree pigs are intelligent (see this article about pigs that high dive, drink beer, and play with toys), but I did my time working with them. As Will Rogers supposedly pointed out, “You should never try and teach a pig to read for two reasons. First, it’s impossible; and secondly, it annoys the hell out of the pig!”
by dan gogerty (top pic from ars/usda and bottom one from squidoo.com)
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