Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Because I needed another reason to hate Smithfield Foods...

So now they're probably in some part responsible for the swine flu pandemic. Nice one, guys.

I actively boycott Smithfield Foods products and all subsidiaries (and Paula Deen too... She's their celebrity spokesperson)... not that I ever bought all that much pork in any of its various forms, but now I'm quite conscientious about it.

For those who are unaware of Smithfield's dubious reputation,, check out this Rolling Stone article (be aware, there are graphic images) about the atrocious way they operate their facilities inside the US where there's supposed to be regulations to stop this flagrant corporate irresponsibility. God only knows what they do in other countries where health, safety and environmental laws (not to mention, laws for the humane treatment of animals) are not even up to our standards (which are obviously too low if Smithfield gets away with these things).

Smithfield refutes many of the claims made in this article (interestingly not my favorite part with the quotes from the guy who started the company about just how much he laughs at the EPA investigators)... However, it is interesting to note that due to at least one of the health concerns detailed in the Rolling Stone article - water contamination - North Carolina had enacted a moratorium on hog "concentrated animal feeding operations" (CAFO's or "factory farms") in 1997, which was extended repeatedly until 2007 when it was allowed to expire... Not that the moratorium was particularly effective. South Carolina, Virginia and Quebec have also passed moratoriums limiting CAFOs and the methods employed at such facilities, and I know that Florida has laws detailing the amount of room a pregnant sow is supposed to be allotted (so they can't be kept in crates barely large enough for them to breath in, forget about moving, as they had been until the referendum was passed). I honestly don't know what's being done about curtailing dirty hog farming in those states right now, but I'd be willing to venture the answer is "not enough."

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