Thursday, December 07, 2006

pig waste

Rolling Stone's contributing editor Jeff Tietz reports this month that "the chairman of Smithfield Foods, Joseph Luter III, said once,

"The animal-rights people want to impose a vegetarian's society of the U.S. Most vegetarians I know are neurotic." Wow, such eloquent logic!

"Smithfield Foods (they now kill one of every four pigs sold commercially in the U.S.) is the largest and most profitable pork processor in the world. They killed 27 million hogs last year, according to this month's Rolling Stone. Hogs produce three times more excrement than human beings do. The 500,000 pigs at a single Smithfield subsidiary in Utah generate more fecal matter each year than the 1.5 million inhabitants of Manhattan. That would fill four Yankee Stadiums."

"Smithfield Farms are flanked by open-pit cesspools known as lagoons. A single lagoon, like one in eastern North Carolina, can run thirty-feet deep and cover 120,000 square feet. Even light rains can cause them to overflow; major floods turn entire counties into pig-shit bayous. In 1999, Hurricane Floyd washed 120 million gallons of hog waste into the region's rivers--the dark-brown tide that resulted was visible from space. Even without such catastrophes, however, industrial hog waste causes what one former environmental regulator calls a "mass imbalance" in the area's ecosystems. Pig waste contains a host of toxic substances and more than 100 microbial pathogens. Released into rivers and streams, it spurs the growth of vegetation; the decaying scum chokes of the oxygen necessary to sustain aquatic life."

"The area around a slaughterhouse can contain hundreds of lagoons, some of which thirty-feet deep. The liquid in them is not brown. The interactions between the bacteria and blood and afterbirths and stillborn piglets and urine and excrement and chemicals and drugs turn the lagoons pink."