Just watched another agribusiness video featuring a factory farm pig producer telling her story. Unless you have a background in agribusiness, you could easily get taken in. So here, for your reading pleasure and edification, is my translation of her key points:
Because of our biosecurity policy, which means how clean we keep our farm, not many people are able to see inside of a modern hog farm.
We don’t want the public to see how we treat our pigs, so we keep them out under the guise of biosecurity. Throughout the video you’ll see me inside the pig barns wearing blue jeans and a pink polo shirt—which is of course cutting-edge, high-end biosecurity apparel. Later in the video, I also let four children into the barn—and like me, they’re all wearing regular clothing. Because nothing’s cleaner and more free of germs and infection than young children just back from school.
Before we inject our nutrients into our soil, we test our nutrients as well.
Our “nutrients” are really tons and tons and tons of pig shit that we need to get rid of. Also, please don’t listen to this part of the video while wearing headphones because I’d rather you not hear the far-off pigs screaming in the background. I wouldn’t want that noise to distract you from all our lush wheat.
As farmers we care about the well-being of the animal; it’s our top priority. Everything we do on the farm revolves around the welfare of my animal.
Please ignore my body language as I’m saying this, and the fact that I avoid making eye contact with the camera.
Also please skip over the part of Meat Market where Erik Marcus calls this statement the big lie of factory farming, and something we in agribusiness repeat at every opportunity. Marcus says we only care about spending as little money as necessary to keep mortality rates acceptably low, and this has nothing to do with caring about the animals’ overall comfort and well-being.
We are also able to make sure we don’t have a bully sow, by keeping them in their individualized pens.
Any aggression due to overcrowding is all the fault of the pigs, so we lock them up in tiny stalls for their own protection. Giving the pigs plenty of space and outdoor access would be a primitive, low-tech way of solving the problem.
We care about our animals being comfortable, so that’s why we put them inside this facility.
Because pigs hate being outdoors, building nests, cooling themselves in mud and swimming in ponds. No, for true comfort, they need to be confined in crowded, stench-filled sheds.
Antibiotics are extremely expensive so we only use them when absolutely necessary.
Let’s not talk about antibiotic use at other pig farms. Let’s just pretend my farm is representative of the entire industry.
Every farrowing room has an individual pen for each sow to lay down and give birth so that she’s comfortable. No other sow can come and step on her. This allows for the sow to concentrate on giving birth without having to be worried about being stepped on. It also keeps the baby pigs from being stepped on by other sows as well.
It’s because we pack as many animals as we can into as little space as possible that we have to worry about piglets getting stepped on. Prior to the rise of factory farms, mother pigs gave birth outdoors. They had plenty of room, built elaborate nests from grass—and squashed piglets were therefore a rarity.
As you can see, the environment inside my hog barns is a safe place for my children to be. I’m so sure it’s safe that we built our house within 150 yards of our hog barns.
But we sure didn’t build our house within 150 yards of the manure lagoons. Gosh darn it, I somehow forgot to give any mention of manure lagoons in this video. If you based your knowledge of our industry solely on this video, you wouldn’t even know there was such a thing as a manure lagoon.
As a mother, it’s important to me that I feed my children a safe, healthy, nutritious product. And I want the same thing for your family too. So you can rest assured the next time you go to a grocery store and you purchase a package of pork that it was produced by a farmer who cares and that it’s safe to feed your family.