Exporting American Factory Farm Know-how: Behind the Scenes of a Global Hog Producer

lean_chop_tp.jpgI figured I was scratching the surface in my post on the role of factory farming in fostering “super bugs,” but I didn’t realize how much until I read Miguel’s treatise (originally posted on Facing South blog by Marek Kryda of Waterkeeper Alliance) about Smithfield Foods and hog-related pollution.

It’s a long read, but fascinating, sad, and scary. In the corporate world, Smithfield Foods is no doubt admired for bringing improved efficiency to what corporate types would refer to as an “inefficient industry.”

Miguel has poked behind the curtains so carefully erected by Smithfield, to give us a sense of the terrible repercussions of factory hog farming. I had heard previously about the destructive smells associated with large-scale hog farming. What he has done is to touch on all the ramifications of such farming—from the payoffs to politicians to the eradication of family farming to the suffering of the animals to the pollution and even to the inferior quality of the meat.

On this last point, Smithfield actually uses the lean pork as the basis of promotion on its web site, in describing the "lean generation advantage."

What makes confronting an entity like Smithfield so difficult is that the company is smart enough to not only buy political friends, but to buy friends in the nonprofit world; just take a look at this page highlighting the company’s support of a food bank.

Thanks to Miguel for sharing his perspective and first-hand experience in the U.S. and Poland.

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