Thursday, March 19

Just Say No to Pork

I love pigs. I do not love how large hog containment farms and the Big Pork lobby get to screw up the water supply and possibly the overall health of the rest of us in Iowa. If anything about last year's flooding should resonate to anyone who does not live in a rural part of the state, when there is a sh*t storm, it all flows downstream.

We are not talking about a little hog poop. We are talking about millions of gallons of swine feces that has had an adverse affect of aquaculture in the upper Iowa river valleys. As Iowa is the leading pork producing state, it is not inconsequential that it also leads the nation in factory farms. For context, the total U.S. hog population numbered 53 million in 1965. This number was spread over more than 1 million pig farms in the United States, many of which were small family operations. Today, 65 million hogs are raised on just over 65,000 farms across the nation. Many of these factory farms are raising 5,000 hogs at any given time.

According to, human health is "threatened by the likelihood of animals to excrete pathogenic microbes. The tremendous quantities of waste that concentrate on the premises of industrial animal producers may exceed the capacity of the landscape to absorb the nutrients and neutralize the pathogens. The annual production of manure produced by animal confinement facilities exceeds that produced by the human population of the country by at least three times. And unlike human sewage, the majority of waste from factory farms is spread upon the ground untreated."

Joe Hennager, organizer of the group STIR (Save the Iowa River) has suggested that a step in the right direction is for all of us who value clean water over cruelty to pigs to step up and pledge to stop eating pork. I've taken Joe up on the pledge. This is a easier to do than to wait for our weak-kneed legislators to find the cajones to allow the Dept. of Natural Resource do its job and enforce clean water laws.

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