Squeal: Hog Castrating Lady Wants To Be Iowa’s Next Senator, and At This Point Why Not? | Common Dreams

Squeal: Hog Castrating Lady Wants To Be Iowa’s Next Senator, and At This Point Why Not? | Common Dreams.

Squeal: Hog Castrating Lady Wants To Be Iowa’s Next Senator, and At This Point Why Not?

by Abby Zimet

In the first ad in her Senate campaign to replace Iowa’s retiring Tom Harkin, Joni Ernst – „Mother, Soldier, Conservative“ – boasts she grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm „so when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.“ She’s one of five GOP candidates. She’s endorsed by Mitt Romney. She’s wearing the biggest, weirdest, grimmest zombie smile you ever did see. As far as we can tell, this is a real ad. God bless our participatory democracy.


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Mother Jones: Are We Becoming China’s Factory Farm?US hog operations are feeding more than a billion people’s growing appetite for pork.

Mother Jones

Are We Becoming China’s Factory Farm?

US hog operations are feeding more than a billion people’s growing appetite for pork.

Social Title:
Are we becoming China’s factory farm?
pigs on conveyor belt

Illustration: Michael Klein

China is in the midst of a love affair with pork. Its consumption of the stuff has nearly doubled since 1993 and just keeps rising. The Chinese currently eat 88 pounds per capita each year—far more than Americans‘ relatively measly 60 pounds. To meet the growing demand, China’s hog farms have grown and multiplied, and more than half of the globe’s pigs are now raised there. But even so, its production can’t keep up with the pork craze.

So where is China looking to supply its demand for chops, ribs, loins, butts, and bellies? Not Southeast Asia or Africa—more like Iowa and North Carolina. US pork exports to China surged from about 57,000 metric tons in 2003 to more than 430,000 metric tons in 2012, about a fifth of all such exports. And that was before a Chinese company announced its intention to buy US pork giant Smithfield Foods in 2013. The way things are going, the United States is poised to become China’s very own factory hog farm. Here are a few reasons why:

➊ It’s now cheaper to produce pork in the US than in China. You read that right: Our meat industry churns out hogs for about $0.57 per pound, according to the US Department of Agriculture, versus $0.68 per pound in China’s new, factory-scale hog farms. The main difference is feed costs. US pig producers spend about 25 percent less on feed than their Chinese counterparts, the USDA found, because the „United States has more abundant land, water, and grain resources.“

âž‹Americans are not as fond of „the other white meat“ as we once were. You wouldn’t know it from the menus in trendy restaurants, but US consumers‘ appetite for pork hit a peak in 1999 and has declined ever since. Yet industry, beholden to shareholders demanding growth, keeps churning out more. According to its latest projections, the USDA expects US pork exports to rise by another 0.9 metric tons by 2022—a 33 percent jump from 2012 levels.

➌ Much of China’s arable land is polluted. Fully 40 percent has been degraded by erosion, salinization, or acidification—and nearly 20 percent is tainted by industrial effluent, sewage, excessive farm chemicals, or mining runoff. The pollution makes soil less productive, and dangerous elements like cadmium have turned up in rice crops.

➍ Chinese rivers have been vanishing since the 1990s as demand from farms and factories has helped suck them dry. Of the ones that remain, 75 percent are severely polluted, and more than a third of those are so toxic they can’t be used to irrigate farms, according to a 2008 report by the Chinese government. According to the World Bank, China’s average annual water resources are less than 2,200 cubic meters per capita. The United States, by contrast, boasts almost 9,400 cubic meters of water per person.

➎ Chinese consumers are losing trust in the nation’s food supply—and will pay for alternatives. A spate of food-related scandals over the past half decade has made food safety the Chinese public’s No. 1 concern, a 2013 study from Shanghai Jiao Tong University found. Judith Shapiro, author of the 2012 book China’s Environmental Challenges and director of the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development program at American University, says she expects Smithfield pork to command „quite a premium“ in China, because it’s perceived as safer and better than the domestic stuff. Already, „US pork is particularly popular and commands premium prices, as it is viewed as higher quality due to our strict food safety laws,“ a Bloomberg Businessweek columnist reported last July.

But what’s good for pork exporters may not be good for the United States: More mass-produced pork also means more pollution to air and water from toxic manure, more dangerous and low-wage work, and more antibiotic-resistant pathogens. And that’s just the beginning. In addition to ramping up foreign meat purchases, China is also rapidly transforming its domestic meat industry along the US industrial model—and importing enormous amounts of feed to do so. The Chinese and their hogs, chickens, and cows gobble up a jaw-dropping 60 percent of the global trade in soybeans, and the government may soon also ramp up corn imports—because while Beijing currently limits foreign corn purchases, meat producers are clamoring for more. And where does a third of the globe’s corn come from? You guessed it: The good old USA.

Extremely Contagious Pig Virus Has Already Killed More Than 4 Million Hogs In The U.S.

41ZpbCRQlrL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-58,22_AA300_SH20_OU03_Extremely Contagious Pig Virus Has Already Killed More Than 4 Million Hogs In The U.S.

Michael Snyder Activist PostIf you eat pork, get ready to pay a lot more for it. A highly contagious pig virus known as “Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus” has now spread to 27 different U.S. states, and it has killed more than 4 million hogs since last May. Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the entire world, estimates that approximately 10 percent of all adult female hogs in America have contracted the disease already, and there is a very good chance that any offspring that they have will die. That is because the mortality rate for this disease for piglets is between 80 and 100 percent.

Fortunately, we are being told that this disease does not affect humans. However, considering the fact that California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in recorded history, and considering the fact that the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk for seven years in a row, this pig virus is coming at a very, very bad time.

And the frightening thing is that the spread of this disease appears to be accelerating.

Back in January, it had only been found in 22 states. But now, it has been found in 27 states

Arizona is the latest state to confirm cases of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious pig disease, increasing the tally of U.S. states with confirmed cases to 27, a group of animal health researchers said.


According to Reuters, there are 4,458 cases that authorities are currently monitoring. But it is important to keep in mind that a single case can represent “an entire herd”…

Confirmed cases of PEDv increased by 274 in the week ending March 8, bringing the total number to 4,458 in 27 states.

While one case can represent an individual animal or an entire herd at a single site, hog industry analysts estimate PEDv has killed between 4 million and 5 million U.S. hogs since it was discovered in May 2013.

PEDv, which does not affect humans and is not a food safety risk, causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs. While older pigs have a chance of survival, 80 to 100 percent of piglets that contract it die.

This is a disease which can be spread from mothers to their children, and that is why it is so troubling that approximately 10 percent of all adult females now have this virus. The following is an excerpt from a recent Fox News article.

Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest pork producer, and other meatpackers estimate that about 10% of the nation’s sows, or adult female hogs, have been infected by the virus, which can spread to their offspring.

Perhaps you are thinking that you will just start eating more beef for a while.And under normal circumstances, that would be no problem at all.

Unfortunately, the beef industry is having huge problems right now as well because of the horrible drought in the western half of the country. The total size of the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951.

But today we have more than twice as many people as we had back in 1951.

So we have got a huge problem. Our cattle herd is shrinking and an extremely contagious virus is killing off our pigs.

This isn’t a major crisis just yet, but if these trends continue we will definitely get there.

But even if a major crisis is averted somehow, without a doubt the price of meat in America is going to be rising for quite some time to come.

And perhaps it is fitting that a pig virus is sweeping the nation, because we have literally become “pig people” in the eyes of the rest of the world.

We like to think of ourselves as “good examples” that the rest of the world should follow, but the truth is that pretty much all that we are giving the rest of the world these days are really, really bad examples.

As I was researching this piece, I came across an article about how one of the most popular performers in America had someone literally vomit on her while she was performing her hit song “Swine”…

Pop star Lady Gaga is known for her shocking outfits and antics. But what she did on stage Thursday night at the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, has left even some of the most desensitized critics calling it “ridiculous” and “sick.”

While performing her song “Swine,” the singer was joined by someone named Millie Brown. Brown is an artist of sorts who specializes in painting with…vomit. That’s right, she ingests colored liquid and then sticks her fingers down her throat and literally vomits all over a canvas. On Thursday, Brown did just that — except there was no canvas: She vomited a green liquid onto Lady Gaga.

Really?Is this what our country has turned into?

For many more examples such as this one, please see two of my previous articles entitled “16 Examples That Show The United States Has Become A Seriously Messed Up Country” and “55 Things About America You May Not Know„.

The sad thing is that Lady Gaga has tens of millions of adoring fans in this nation, and stunts like these only tend to increase her popularity.

Now that we have gotten to the point where having someone vomit on a woman is considered to be “entertainment”, it is hard to be optimistic about the future of this nation.

But perhaps there are some out there that believe that I am being too harsh.

So what do you think?

Betreten der Stallungen ist jetzt gesetzlich verboten – Eine Gesetzeslücke wurde geschlossen

Betreten der Stallungen ist jetzt gesetzlich verboten
Der Landtag hat eine Gesetzeslücke geschlossen. Das Problem wurde virulent, als unerlaubt gemachte Fotos von Ställen auftauchten. Nachdem diese Gesetzeslücke geschlossen wurde, kann der Verein gegen Tierfabriken (VGT) nun endlich zur Verantwortung gezogen werden.
Unbefugte Personen schafften sich Zutritt zu den Stallungen. © Agrarfoto.com
Unbefugte Personen schafften sich  Zutritt zu den Stallungen. © Agrarfoto.com
Dass der VGT bei seiner Vorgehensweise nicht zimperlich ist, ist mittlerweile bekannt. Dies zeigte sich auch im Vorfeld der Nationalratswahl im vergangenen Jahr, als plötzlich Fotos von Stallungen von Bauernbundkandidaten im Internet auftauchten. Alle diese Fotos wurden dem VGT angeblich von Sympathisanten zugespielt und ohne Wissen der betroffenen Landwirte gemacht.

Jetzt drohen Strafen bis zu 1500 Euro

Bisher konnte man dieses Verhalten nicht ahnden. Dies stellt auch Bauernbundobmann Hermann Schultes fest. „Die letzten Provokationen haben uns gezeigt, dass eine gesetzliche Grundlage fehlt.“ Durch den Beschluss des NÖ Landtags vom 7. November 2013 wurde diese Gesetzeslücke jetzt geschlossen. So ist nun nach dem NÖ Feldschutzgesetz bereits das Betreten von Stallungen verboten. Sollte sich jemand dieser gesetzlichen Bestimmung widersetzen, kann er, durch von der Gemeinde ernannte Feldschutzorgane, mit einer Geldstrafe bis zu 1500 Euro bestraft werden.
Dass der VGT über solch eine Gesetzesbestimmung nicht erfreut ist, ist klar. VGT-Anwalt Stefan Traxler behauptet in einem Interview in einer Tageszeitung sogar, dass dieses Gesetz dem Gleichheitsgrundsatz widerspräche und er gegebenenfalls beim Verfassungsgerichtshof dagegen vorgehen werde. Der renommierte Verfassungsrechtsexperte Theo Öhlinger dagegen erkennt das Feldschutzgesetz, das seit 1. Jänner 2014 gültig ist, als „verfassungskonform“ an. Seitens der niederösterreichischen Bauern zeigt man sich zuversichtlich, dass dieses Gesetz einer etwaigen Prüfung standhält und das die Vorgehensweise des VGT oder deren Sympathisanten endlich sanktionierbar ist.

Livestock Farmer’s Surprising Admission: “What I Do Is Wrong: I Know It in My Bones”

Livestock Farmer’s Surprising Admission: “What I Do Is Wrong: I Know It in My Bones”
Livestock Farmer’s Surprising Admission: “What I Do Is Wrong: I Know It in My Bones”

Livestock Farmer’s Surprising Admission: “What I Do Is Wrong: I Know It in My Bones”

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In 2011, a pig farmer named Bob Comis posted a rather surprising, and short, entry on the Stony Brook Farm blog.  He said, “This morning, as I look out the window at a pasture quickly growing full of frolicking lambs, I am feeling very much that it might be wrong to eat meat, and that I might indeed be a very bad person for killing animals for a living.”

Comis raises perhaps 500 pigs every year on his farm in rural New York.  He does not run an industrialized operation.  Rather, he strives to treat the pigs as well as possible, raising them in a pasture-based manner.  They can go outside, root around, play and socialize together, rest inside shelters or shady wooded areas, and wallow in mud to stay cool.

They live happy piggy lives, right up to the day they take their final truck ride to the slaughterhouse. There, of course, things are not so rosy.

“One morning, I woke up absolutely certain that killing animals to eat their meat was wrong,” Comis told Modern Farmer in 2014.  “So it might seem like I’ve sided with animal rights advocates, but the long view that I’m taking on this makes my position more complicated than that.”

We Have an Obligation to Eat Otherwise

These are amazing words from someone who makes his living providing animal meat for human consumption:

What I do is wrong, in spite of its acceptance by nearly 95 percent of the American population. I know it in my bones — even if I cannot yet act on it. Someday it must stop. Somehow we need to become the sort of beings who can see what we are doing when we look head on, the sort of beings who don’t weave dark, damning shrouds to sustain, with acceptance and celebration, the grossly unethical. Deeper, much deeper, we have an obligation to eat otherwise.

It might take incalculable generations of being hooked by and grappling with the ethics of slaughter to get there. But we really do need to get there — because again, what I am doing, what we are doing, is wrong, even terribly so.

Taking Baby Steps Toward The Day We Dont Keep Livestock At All

Comis believes that we need to stop raising and slaughtering animals for food.  He also knows this happy animal-friendly future won’t happen in one fell swoop. It’s going to require a shift in cultural thinking.

“I think a lot of animal farmers have the same ethical struggles me, although I’m not sure how many struggle as intensely as I do,” Comis told Modern Farmer.  “I believe this is likely the case with even non-corporate factory farmers. Feeling nothing strikes me as mildly sociopathic.”

Pigs outside

Pasture raised pigs outside on a sunny day.  Photo credit: Thinkstock

Those who believe in the “all or nothing” approach will not like Bob Comis or what he has to say.   He continues to raise pigs for slaughter, and no matter how well those pigs live until the day they die, the abolitionist proponents won’t be fans.

For those who believe progress must sometimes be gained in increments, Comis’ non-intensive livestock farming approach may find favor.

“For now, I justify non-industrial farming as a necessary compromise that will gradually shift how we think about using animals as food,” he said.

“By raising animals the way I do, I offer a way out of the industrial farming system, which is worse by orders of magnitude than the way I farm, and should be abandoned immediately,” Comis told Modern Farmer. ”That’s how I rationalize my farming. I know that on the macro level, my small farm does not change much. But on the micro level, I do make a difference in the lives – and deaths – of individual pigs.”

Comis is different than those who espouse a continuation of the “sustainable humane meat” industry.  Instead, he advocates for a future in which his type of farming serves only as a stepping stone toward the day we don’t eat animals at all. He wants to treat the animals decently until we can get society to the point where we don’t eat them at all.

An Unethical Life Shrouded in the Justificatory Trappings of Social Acceptance

“As a pig farmer, I live an unethical life shrouded in the justificatory trappings of social acceptance.” Comis wrote for The Huffington Post in January 2014. “There is more, even, than simple acceptance. There is actually celebration of the way I raise the pigs. Because I give the pigs lives that are as close to natural as is possible in an unnatural system, I am honorable, I am just, I am humane — while all the while behind the shroud, I am a slaveholder and a murderer.”

Realizations such as this, discussed publicly by individuals in the livestock trade, are the first nuggets that will lead to the end of animal farming.  Comis isn’t the only livestock rancher to express horror at industrialized animal farming.  Howard Lyman, the “Mad Cowboy,” was a fourth generation cattle rancher and dairy farmer until health concerns turned him vegan and caused him to lobby hard against the very industry he’d once embraced.

Resist the urge to dismiss what Comis has to say because he’s still farming pigs.  I wanted to do that, too. It’s the easy and understandable reaction.  We want to say “If you think it’s so wrong, stop doing it!”

The fact that any livestock farmer feels this way — and encourages public discussion about it — is monumental.  I’m impressed Comis gave voice to his worries, even if he’s a failed vegan, still a meat eater and still a livestock farmer.  He’s thinking and writing about the issue. He’s deeply bothered. He’s stirring the pot. He’s making noise. That’s how change begins.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/livestock-farmers-surprising-admission-what-i-do-is-wrong-i-know-it-in-my-bones.html#ixzz2v4mXN5qy