for full article click here What You Should Know About Pork Production Claims
In last week’s post I shared some information about a few common and often misleading claims that poultry companies make about the way their chickens and turkeys are raised. We looked at the fact that while most companies don’t actually lie to their customers directly, they do rely on meticulously calculated marketing terminology that leads their customers to believe that their birds were raised in ways that they, in actual fact, were not. I labored to expose the unfortunate reality that many poultry companies respond to the public’s demand for alternatively raised birds with dishonest advertising rather than real changes in the lucrative CAFO poultry production system that their customers increasingly don’t want to support. In the pork industry today, we face many of the same realities of deceptive marketing, empty claims, and regulation loopholes – a few of which I will attempt to uncover in this post. I won’t bore you with an explanation of every pork claim used in this day and age but the examples below can serve as illustrations of the type of analytical discernment needed in the marketplace today.
In the spirit of full disclosure I should start by mentioning that I happen to love raising and eating pastured pigs. This evening as I sit at my desk on my little farm here in Floyd County, Virginia, a herd of less than 20 pastured pigs is lying outside my bedroom window in a big snoring heap in the tall grass. I think that pastured pork farming is pretty cool. However, I happen to have a first cousin in Iowa whom I respect considerably even though he raises pigs using a very different model. He almost single-handedly raises about 25,000 pigs every year in 14 state of the art fully computerized CAFO buildings. I’ve seen his operation many times and I know that he is proud of what he does. The system that he runs is an extraordinary example of engineering genius and he feeds a tremendous number of people through the conventional pork system that he’s a part of. While I differ with him greatly from an applied agricultural philosophy standpoint I respect him as a fellow farmer nonetheless.