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Aster's avatar

In what ways are pigs abused causing some to avoid eating pork?

Asked by Aster (18860points) December 22nd, 2010

We know that cows are treated horribly, thus some people are vegetarians out of respect for animals. In what way are pigs abused?
I love bacon and I am not the exception. Why should humans avoid pork chops, pork roasts and bacon besides the carcinogenic additives to bacon like sodium nitrate and nitrite?

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17 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t think your premise is correct. People are not necessarily vegetarian because animals are treated poorly. They are vegetarian because they don’t believe in eating animals. Vegetarians do not eat well kept grass fed free range animals.

Some producers do not treat pigs well, forcing them into crowded pens filed with their own filth. Pigs in such conditions have been known to eat their own young. But that should not be a reason to avoid eating pork from reputable pig farmers.

Aster's avatar

” Vegetarians do not eat well kept grass fed free range animals.” I know but I thought they avoided them too because at some point they’re slaughtered.

crisw's avatar

For a start, watch this if you can stomach it.

Pigs suffer greatly in confinement systems because they are highly-intelligent animals that are driven crazy by the intense confinement. In addition, in confinement they cannot perform any of the behaviors natural to pigs- rooting, wallowing, etc. They are bred to grow fast and heavy, which puts immense stress on their small hooves and feet, leading to painful crippling, especially as they are denied bedding.

lilalila's avatar

I think if you visited a meat processing factory you might see why for yourself, if you’re so curious.

However, I sincerely doubt that they conduct tours at those facilities because of two things; one, there would be no demand for it because Americans have no concern for knowing the source of their food, and two, because it would be bad for business. There are tour videos, however, at the link below and at PETA.com:
http://gizmodo.com/5238869/a-tour-of-mcdonalds-horrifying-mechanized-meat-factories

Another reason not to eat pig is because it bears a close resemblance to human meat, or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

Aster's avatar

“Americans have no concern for knowing the source of their food.” I’m American and I want to know. But I admit it never crossed my mind for most of my life. If not for flutherers, it may never have concerned me.
So Europeans care and Americans do not? And how has this caring affected the diets of Europeans?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am a vegan partly because of how horribly animals are treated. Here.

lilalila's avatar

@Aster ; I can’t speak for the rest of the world, because I AM an American, and have only been out of the country for a short while. If I knew for sure that all humans shared that non-concern, I would have said so.

I can’t tell you how many times people have shrugged at me when I’ve asked, “Don’t you know what’s IN that??” And look at the obesity problem in America as well, compared to the rest of the world. No one cares what they are eating here. If they cared, so many of them wouldn’t be obese, and if they cared, they probably wouldn’t eat the vast majority of fast food or meat products.

crisw's avatar

@Aster

“So Europeans care and Americans do not?”

There is a lot more legislation in Europe governing animal welfare; they are far less prone to “don’t gimme any more damn laws!” than Americans are. Quite a few European countries have banned the worst forms of factory farming.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Pigs are smart clean animals that are tastiest when slow roasted on a spit. Without the domestication of animals humans would never have developed the mental capacity they have. Protein ingestion by us omnivores have helped us grow as a species and domestication has allowed us to sustain our growing population.

Aster's avatar

Does protein ingestion by us now , using animal flesh, help us grow as a species? I know there are other sources of protein , right?

rooeytoo's avatar

Factory farming is a terrible way for any creature to live. That is why I only buy free range (and I mean real free range) no matter the cost. If the cost is a problem, we eat less of it.

I think about being a vegetarian, but animals are predators, they kill each other for food, so I assume it is okay for me as well. As long as they live well and are slaughtered quickly and humanely.

crisw's avatar

@rooeytoo

“animals are predators, they kill each other for food, so I assume it is okay for me as well”

This is called the appeal to nature fallacy, and it’s a really common logical error. The problem here is that some animals also commit murder, rape, infanticide, patricide, etc., and we don’t want to justify such behaviors in such a way. As an example, no one says “Lions kill other lions then kill the cubs of rival lions to bring the females back into heat so they can mate with them, therefore killing fathers and children is OK” and expects anyone to take them seriously. We are the only animals that can truly think ethically; we can’t logically use animals as an excuse for our behavior. Our actions must be based on logic and reason.

I do agree, though, that if someone is still choosing to eat meat, free-range and humanely-raised is the way to go.

rooeytoo's avatar

@crisw – yep I have heard all the arguments, but in my own mind, as long as they are free range I have no problem with eating meat. The aboriginal people of old would thank the roo for being dinner, they viewed it as the ultimate fulfillment of purpose for the critter to provide their sustenance. That idea is okay with me also. I don’t thank the lord, cuz I worked to pay for it, but I often thank the critter.

I have one more interesting story, it is a bit off topic but an interesting aside. I was staying on a huge cattle station in Queensland for a couple of weeks, it was over 125,000 acres but could only feed very few head of cows. One day we came across an oldie who had fallen down and was obviously not going to get up again. The station always carried a rifle. He hunkered down beside the old cow and rubbed her ears, honest to goodness she looked into his eyes and her eyes softened. Then with tears in his eyes and a crack in his voice, he told her she had been the best cow she could possibly have been and he hoped she had enjoyed living on the station. She had roamed free her entire life and bred when nature told her to. Then he shot her and put her out of pain. Wow, it still makes me cry when I tell that story and it was years ago. I guess there is some relevancy there because he treated her with respect and dignity and her death was quick as a wink. That is the way it should be.

thekoukoureport's avatar

To each their own. I buy my meat at the supermarket and I don’t ask. Now I have also killed and butchered my, own doesn’t matter. Just thankful it’s available.

iamthemob's avatar

@rooeytoo – I’m with you on feeling okay with eating meat only if it’s raised in a humane manner. However, I think @crisw has the objectively reasonable moral argument: If it is possible to survive without eating meat, then it is morally wrong to eat meat, as long as one ensures that the vegetarian diet is based on sustainable agriculture.

Now, my position is that I like eating meat, and I think that the better global environmental agriculture is to support general sustainable agriculture because it’s more practical. Asking people to give up meat is more of a demand, whereas agreeing to disagree about the choice but requesting that all meat be produced sustainably is a compromise that has some possibility.

As to the OP – the problem isn’t about the type of animal – the beef industry is the most recognized problem, but the entire CAFO production system is perhaps one of the more environmentally and human rights-related devastating force in the world. Although many figures show that small farmers are the majority, we have to recognize that these farmers are essentially indentured servitude much of the time to one of the four main meat retailers/producers. They are also subject to regulation by these big four and therefore raise their animals according to standards that the big four/FDA (considering the revolving-door aspect of the meat industry and the government regulators) set…in essence, they are treated as independent contractors even though they are, in essence, due to the market structure, employees.

crisw's avatar

@iamthemob

“the problem isn’t about the type of animal ”

To some degree, it is.

Pigs probably suffer the most from factory farming, as they are very intelligent and are denied so much in so many ways. Beef cattle still lead relatively confinement-free lives for much of their lifespan, and are never confined as harshly as pigs.

On the other hand, as you mention, ruminant livestock such as cows produce more of a contribution to global warming, and are also responsible for more deforestation, land conversion and erosion.

So it really depends on what aspect you are looking at.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think it is crazy that I have to make an ethical argument for doing what humans have been doing for a couple of years anyhow, that is eating meat. So I’ll skip that debate.

And speaking of global warming, did you see what the officials of Heathrow said, they cut back on the snow and ice removal budget this year because the global warming guys told them it would be a mild winter. Tell that to the folks who were stuck there because of the blizzard conditions!

You just never know, but argue anyhow!

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