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The World Health Organization recently announced that it did a scientific review of 800 studies that found that eating too much red or processed meat increases the risk of cancer, but that’s only part of the pork story. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Does Eating Pork Affect Your Behaviour
The risk of cancer from processed meat may be lower, but that doesn’t leave bacon lovers disappointed.
Do Pigs Sweat?
The media loves a good food scare. So when the World Health Organization recently published a scientific review of 800 studies, the news was exaggerated by headlines suggesting that eating too much red or processed meat increases the risk of cancer. For example, The Guardian “Processed meats are classified alongside tobacco as a cause of cancer – WHO”, which suggests that both are equally dangerous, which is far from the truth.
Then came the predictable response. Eric Mittenthal, vice president of the Northern Meat Institute, said health journalists offered fact-checks, artisan food advocates waxed sentimental and the meat industry criticized the WHO’s “vicious and shocking attack.” All the fuss has prompted the World Health Organization to issue an unnecessary explanation to the public, saying the review “does not ask people to stop eating processed meat”. Bacon lovers rejoice.
But focusing on cancer is a narrow approach to our public discourse about food. If a slightly higher risk of colon cancer isn’t enough to stop or reduce your consumption of bacon and sausage, perhaps these six sad facts will be.
Forget about cancer. With line speed — the number of pigs killed per hour — increasing faster and faster, food safety advocates warn that meat quality is at risk. Consider Hormel, a leading pork producer that has increased line speed nearly 50% in recent years from 900 pigs to 1,300 pigs per hour. Investigative journalist Ted Genoways, in his disturbing book The Chain, concludes that this pace is too fast. According to him, pork products “contaminate feces, urine, bile, hair, intestinal contents, sick animals, toenails. Government deregulation has exposed consumers to all kinds of health hazards.
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Meatpacking plants are among the most dangerous workplaces with constant pressure to keep the lines moving, creating extremely stressful conditions. Genoways documents the heartbreaking accounts of workers—mostly poor immigrants—permanently disabled and marginalized. While many injuries are caused by stabbing and repetitive stress, one of the more worrisome hazards is the inhalation of gassed pig brain tissue by workers. (Pig brains are sold in Asia as a marinade for roast meat.) As a result of this exposure, one factory experienced an outbreak of “neuropathy” among nearly two dozen workers, many of whom suffered permanent brain and spinal damage. and limb nerves.
During pregnancy, sows are kept in gestation crates, which are only two feet wide, not large enough to move around or participate in any natural behavior. Here’s how the Humane Society of the United States describes the effects of this brutal treatment on the pig’s mental state:
They chew on bars, shake their heads incessantly back and forth, or lie on the sidewalk dejectedly. Almost all the pigs stare straight ahead, waiting to be fed, probably mad… then their pigs are taken and the sows are re-inseminated and returned to their pregnant crates to start the cycle of suffering all over again. .
Fortunately, thanks to effective activism by groups like the Humane Society, many major food companies are pledging to stop using pork that is produced this way. But it will take some time for the transition from this harsh practice to be fully implemented.
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If you eat industrially produced pork, you are supporting a dirty, cruel and corrupt business, regardless of whether it increases your risk of cancer.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the group Mercy for Animals exposed videos of a Walmart pork supplier showing workers head-on, throwing pigs to the ground, causing them to suffer and slowly die, among other crimes that they are terrifying to behold.
Pork production is notorious for overuse of antibiotics, a practice that is contributing to a national public health crisis. One day you or your loved one may not get the antibiotics they need to treat the infection. According to a study published earlier this year, pig farming is the worst offender, with four times more antibiotics per kilogram of meat than cattle and significantly more than poultry.
The meat industry is highly concentrated, politically and economically powerful, and pork production is no exception. Earlier this year, the world’s largest meat processor JBS announced plans to buy Cargill’s pork business for $1.45 billion. The deal, which was finalized last week, will make Brazilian meat giant Smithfield Foods the second largest producer of pork, leaving Tyson in third place. In 2013, Smithfield was bought by a Chinese company for $4.7 billion, raising safety concerns over China’s poor food safety record. But the concern should be the opposite.
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At the time, Tom Phipot of Mother Jones asked, “Will the US become a giant factory farm for China?” he asked. To support growth, Smithfield said, “markets where per capita meat consumption is growing rapidly need to be captured, and the Chinese market represents the world’s biggest prize in this regard.” Pork is the most consumed meat worldwide, representing more than 36% of the world’s meat consumption, and consumption is expected to increase, with all the problems associated with it.
Hopefully, you won’t underestimate one of the many American hogweed plants that can grow even taller. At least 25 lawsuits have been filed against Smithfield Foods in North Carolina, where manure lagoons are wreaking havoc. Just one of these tanks can hold 4.3 million gallons of feces and urine. As Nathan Halverson explained in an article for the Center for Investigative Reporting, to make the case, “the foul-smelling sludge spreads into neighboring fields—creating a fine mist of feces, urine, and water that reaches neighbors on their properties and homes. “. he said.
It’s easy for us to be protective of bacon when so many are so far from its destructive influence. Furthermore, the recent bacon craze was no accident, nor was it fueled by a food craze. Rather, it was the result of an aggressive marketing campaign by the state-run National Pork Board, the same program that is now the target of federal money laundering charges.
Michelle Simon is a public health advocate, president of Eat Drink Politics, author of Food for Profit: How the Food Industry Hurts Our Health and How to Get It Back, and attorney at Foscolo & Handel, Food Law Institute.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Al Jazeera.
Good evening and good luck Al Jazeera has a good average of Al Jazeera let me ‘say what needs to be said’ The news needs to be done Elegy For a site that is a local voice Consider the pig. Your mouth is probably already watering at the thought of toothsome bacon, juicy ribs, delicious bacon and spicy sausage. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more people around the world eat pork than meat, accounting for 36 percent of all meat consumed by carnivores. Americans eat about 50 pounds per person each year — and that’s nothing compared to China, where people eat twice as much.
But in some communities pork is untouchable. Consumption is prohibited in Islam and Judaism. And some people consider pigs, especially small pot-bellied breeds, to be favorite pets. Highly social and more innocent than their name suggests, pigs are highly intelligent. Experienced pigs can play chase, control the temperature in their environment and learn simple computer games. In 2014, a study in Animal Cognition found that pigs can understand human signals in a similar way to dogs.
If you’re feeling a little uncomfortable with your BLT at this point, you’re not alone. This concern is a phenomenon that scientists have called the “meat paradox”. This happens when people like to eat meat but don’t like to kill animals to provide it. “If you scratch the surface, it seems like everyone has a hard time eating meat,” says Brooke Bastian, a psychologist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Basically, if you love all creatures, great and small, the idea of harming them is at least a little disturbing. “One of the deepest and most pervasive moral concerns is the prevention of harm.”