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Pigs Bite Back or “Pig Karma”!

There’s no doubt that bacon is one of our favourite foods, the English breakfast is traditionally based on bacon and eggs with various other foods added. The bacon roll is a hot favourite as a quick snack. Sausages wrapped in bacon are regarded as a real treat. Bacon has decidedly become part of our national diet, but to meet this demand from fifty plus million consumers the farming of pigs has had to go big.

Now pig farming is no longer a idyllic country scene where the few pigs were kept in their comfy sty, fed the best food and looked after with the greatest care and attention till eventually, the day comes for their demise, when even this necessary end was achieved with a certain amount of respect and concern for the animal. Today pig farming is on an industrial scale and the animals are regarded more like objects to be processed efficiently and their final end must come as an immense relief to them since they are sentient animals that can experience enjoyment or pain like any other mammal.

If pork in all its forms was an essential part of human diets, or if it conveyed some particular health benefit that no other food could give us or if we could not find sufficient nutrition from alternatives to pig or for that matter any animal foods, then there would be a sound case for the continued expanding production and consumption of this animal. But the reality is that none of those conditions apply; there are no nutritional benefits of pork over other foods, it is not an essential part of any person’s diet and it is a resource costly food to be produced in quantity.

Pig farming today consumes excessive amounts of energy, land, water compared with other plant-based foods; a pound of pork requires over 500 gallons of water, 12 Kilowatt hours of energy, over 6 pounds of animal feed. A pound of pork produces the equivalent CO2 emissions to an average car driven 15 miles and the waste from pig factory farms, approximately 3000 pound a year per animal, is a serious hazard to health and causes pollution of waterways.

So, all in all, it would seem our love of pork comes at a high price to the environment and natural resources but, hey, what the heck, we love it!

Karma is simply defined as what goes round comes round! Maybe there is a “pig karma” since we now are told by the World Health Organization that our favourite food is killing us!
Bacon, ham, and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer, the World Health Organisation has said, placing cured and processed meats in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic, and tobacco.
The report from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said there was enough evidence to rank processed meats as group 1 carcinogens because of a causal link with bowel cancer.
Just like the tobacco story that took fifty years for the medical profession and governments to accept the evidence that “smoking kills” there will be many years of debate and counter-argument from the meat industry before our attitudes to eating meat and especially processed meats change our dietary habits. There is a term “precautionary measures” that applies here.

Smokers didn’t need to wait fifty years to be told by the government that smoking is bad for your health printed on the packet, they could have chosen to play safe and quit when the first serious concerns were published. Likewise, since we do not need meat in our diet for optimal health, despite what the meat industry and their paid experts will tell you, why not quit it and play safe? That would be a precautionary measure that makes good sense for your long-term health and the planet’s sustainability for our children and grandchildren as well.

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