Today's Pseudo Swine
This note is not for the faint of heart or someone easily disturbed by the truth.  Let us make a disclaimer that we understand that most people have no choice but to purchase industry pork since most hogs are raised in the manner outlined below.

Most hogs today are raised in closed confined housing in a temperature and light controlled environment.  The excrement from the pigs is either stored below or on a down slope from the housing area.  As compared to a sewer pipe, the sewage in a confined building is constantly generating the poisonous gasses hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.

OSHA has safety standards that must be met for sewage employees to perform duties in a confined space;  however the agricultural industry has no such standards.  There are scientific papers studying these same gasses in hog confinements.

A couple of them are...

"Respiratory Dysfunction in Swine Production Facility Workers"
Kelly J. Donham,MSDMV;Stephen J.Reynolds,PhD.,  CIH;et al.,
American Journal of Industrial Medicine,  1995


"A Control Study of Health and Quality of Life of Residents Living in The Vicinity of Large Scale Swine Productions"
K. Thur,  K Donham,  et al.,  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health,  1997


Approximately 60% of swine production workers complain of at least 1 respiratory symptom, most of which are acute.  Compared to the control population of urban workers and crop farmers,  workers in enclosed livestock environments have a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms.  Pigs are affected by these gasses the same as people.  In fact the original OSHA limits for humans in part were established ironically from studies on pigs.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Association has measured 30 times the federal limit at hog confinement sites.  No,  we wouldn't kid ourselves into thinking our's or any other state is better.

Traits of Hog Confinement Buildings:
   Sewage is not treated - therefore constant generation of poisonous gasses.
   Pigs live their whole life in a poison gas environment.
   Buildings and lagoons constantly discharge poison gas into the neighborhood environment.

Non-treated sewage is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.  For example,  hog sewage washing into the river basins after a hurricane hit the coast of North Carolina.  If a ventilation system fails,  people and hogs will die in 30 minutes.  How often does the power go out at your house and for how long?

We are aware that humans and thousands of hogs have been killed from industry sewer gasses.  We are aware that humans and hogs in confinements suffer diseases associated with poisonous gasses.  We are aware that pathogens associated with sewage and antibiotic resistant bacteria have been found in wells and waterways around confinements.  Antibiotic resistant bacteria,  being associated with the standard practice of feeding drugs the rule,  and not the exception.

But that's a whole other subject...or is it?  Do you take antibiotics when you aren't sick?

Canadian researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario have created the "Enviropig" by splicing 3 Yorkshire pigs with mouse DNA and strain of bacteria (no folks we're not making this up).  These pigs are said to digest phosphorus in cereal feed with greater efficiency than other pigs.  Farmers are largely enthusiastic about the project,  given that every pig producer knows his animals manure is heavy in phosphorus.  Runoff from hog farms pollutes rivers,  streams,  ponds and lakes throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture answered these questions.
(Summer Fall 2000)
Question:  Is poultry litter good for my garden?
Answer:  Yes,  poultry litter is a good source of organic matter for your garden,  in fact it is used in commercial hog operations as feed.

Our question, BBQ anyone?

Experts on wine can tell you the vintage in a minute.  Experts on perfume can tell you the world location and time of year a flower was grown.  While we don't claim to be experts on pork,  we certainly are connoisseurs.

During visits to bbq joints in NC we have sworn to ourselves that there has been chicken in with the pork bbq.  In an effort to solve this dilemma in our minds,  we purchased a shoulder from a major pork packing house.  We are of the understanding they supply many of the joints in the Down East area.  We cooked it to perfection,  we eagerly brought it in and commenced to chopping.  You know how you just love to snitch a piece of the bark and what great flavor it has?  Properly raised pork should have a strong flavor and the bark should be the tastiest part.  We immediately realized the error of our thinking that there was chicken mixed in the bbq at some of the joints.  The bark was anemic in flavor and the inside meat resembled chicken indeed.  Not to mention that it was redolent of chemical/antibiotics.  Please don't take us for saying,  "ha ha ours is better than yours" because that is not what we are saying.

We were at one point like most everyone else and were uninformed,  or our taste buds not as refined where pork is concerned.  We just thought a pig is a pig.  But is it?  We surely don't think so anymore.  To us,  the whole point of eating is because WE LOVE food not just to get a belly full.  If it doesn't taste great we don't want any more of it than enough to just quell our hunger,  why bother?

We don't claim to have any or all of the answers to fix the hog industry problems.  However we are aware that there are people out there raising pigs in more environmentally healthy and also humane ways that are turning a profit.
We say write the National Pork Board.  Write the Department of Agriculture.  Heck,  write your Momma.  Tell them you don't want antibiotic fed pork that is raised in the equivalent of a sewer!!

Here's to traditional southern raised pig.  Because after all,  great BBQ has to start with a traditional hog.

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