The State of Your Bacon

The Renaissance Woman sends me articles and comics she cuts from magazines. I love their torn edges, the off center folds. I love getting an envelope with a handwritten address and a postage stamp.

A couple of days ago she sent an article from Time Magazine titled Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food. The first paragraph, which was placed solo in the sky portion of a full page photo, a black cow grazing in a brown field, read like a little farm fairytale. Except it was even scarier.

Here's it is, by Bryan Walsh:

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.

Like all good fairytales there is a happy ending to the article though. It's this; the opportunities we have, three times a day, to choose better food. For ourselves, our neighbors, the pigs, fish and for our pretty planet.

7 comments:

Kel said...

yes. yes. yes. its that simple. and if you cant afford happy meat. cut back and go vego more often.

Kel said...

its not about bacon, but thought you may be interested!http://ecologicalartist.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/august-1st-dye-day/

Green Bean said...

Whoa! Hope this grabs the attention of some not yet on the Real Food bandwagon.

kale for sale said...

Kel - Happy meat. I like that.

Kel - The dyeing event looks fabulous. And local. Thanks.

Green Bean - Me too!

Kel said...

its in support of the salmon!

risa said...

It gets even worse: We're feeding cows to the chickens, then the dirtied chicken bedding to the cows. This has really put me off my day.

kale for sale said...

risa - It leaves me speechless. I tried to avoid that article and then cover it up with denial but in the end I suspect it's true and really is too terrible to consider.