Factory Farm Flu

May 1, 2009

Okay, so it’s no longer PC to call it Swine Flu, because our friends at Smithfield and ConAgra don’t want people fearing that this flu can be spread by their mass-produced, antibiotic infested pork products.  True, you can’t get H1N1 influenza from eating pork ribs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid them for fear of ingesting who knows what growth hormones and antibiotics.

I suspect that not one of us supports cramming pigs or cows or chickens into these conditions where antibiotics are absolutely necessary simply to get the animals to the butcher, but do we consider this when we’re standing at the meat counter at the grocery store?  Do we consider the individuals in Iowa, North Carolina and Mexico that live near these factory farms?  Do we consider the small family farms that face the decision of either closing their doors or joining Goliath’s army?  Probably not.  We are concerned with price and feeding our families–no, these are not bad concerns; in fact, they are very just concerns.  But these factory farm conditions arose out of a desire to “meat” America’s desire for cheap, edible flesh.

Are we to blame for Smithfields choices or Cargills choices?  No.  But, yes.  They are supplying our demands.  Let’s think about what we demand.  Let’s re-evaluate our values.  This is bigger than an animal rights issue.  It’s also way bigger than a potential flu pandemic issue.  This is a social justice issue and an environmental issue.  It’s a health issue.

For more on this issue, The Green Fork offers some commentary and links.


3 Responses to “Factory Farm Flu”

  1. Tim said

    If you or any of your readers are interested in local, sustainable meat from a small Missouri Farm, check out http://www.parkerfarmsmeats.com/
    Trinity and I and some other friends have been supporting this family for about a year. The meat is wonderful and so are the Parkers!

  2. andrew said

    Kristen and I just joined the Parker’s CSA, too (hat tip: Tim). I have to say that I’ve cooked a lot of beer-butted chicken in my day, but it tastes so much better when you know the chicken has lived a happy, healthy life. At least, I think I can taste the difference. 🙂

    I’m glad there is an alternative to factory farms, for the sake of my omnivory.

  3. mr.eggsandsoup said

    Does Parker’s CSA have milk and butter? Does anyone else know the names or locations of local (Kansas City) farmers that sell milk and butter?

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