Monday, February 11, 2013

Joel Osteen and Pork. A Pig’s Life. Other Side of the Story. Gestation Crates or Pens. Enhanced Pork. Ractopamine In Pork. Nelson Mandela.


For “Mammal Monday”:

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went...
"Wee wee wee" all the way home...

Next time you see that bacon on your plate, remember this:

Why did God tell us not to eat pork?

Joel Osteen says:  Pigs are Scavengers:

“Facts about pig :
- Pigs are scavengers.
- in most important religions (Quran , Bible and Old Testament) the pig considered unclean and not a source of food
- Pigs have the poorest digestive system.
- Garbage that eaten by a pig could be still there when this pig reaches your plate.”

“There are two main sections of Scripture that discuss diet very clearly: Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. These chapters describe animals that God says are good to eat and those that are not to be food. Did you know that God instructs Christians today not to eat pork? No pork products—no bacon, ham, sausage, pepperoni; anything that comes from a pig should not be eaten. It's clear in Leviticus 11. You know He also says to avoid shellfish: so shrimp, crab, lobster, clams.”  WHY??

Because they are all scavengers and/or bottom feeders, created like the vultures to clean up dead things and trash.


If that isn’t enough, consider this:

Concealed Cruelty - Pork Industry Animal Abuse Exposed

“A new Mercy For Animals undercover investigation provides a shocking look into one of the nation's largest pork producers -- Iowa Select Farms in Kamrar, Iowa. At this factory farm, mother sows and their piglets are forced to suffer brutal abuse and lives of unrelenting confinement and misery.”


Future Of Gestation Crates

Clarified – What are gestation crates?“Famed animal scientist Temple Grandin likens tenure in a gestation crate to a life-long sentence in a first-class airplane seat. "You could maybe turn over on your side," she says, "and there's someone bringing you food and water and everything you need, but you can't move." The pigs not emerge unscathed, she says, "They can feel fear and pain. 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your whole life adds up to a lot of suffering," he says.” 

This little piggie is bred for market. This little piggie can’t turn her body around. That’s about to change.

The term “gestation crates” has been trotted out across news media and social networks over the course of the last few months as major corporations declared plans to phase out their use, but what exactly are they and why is their use so controversial?   More at:


Now, the other side of the story:

“So it's only natural that farmers also evolve and incorporate the latest in technology to care for their livestock and grow their crops. And the best folks to determine that evolution are the ones in the field, the ones working in the barns with livestock, daily. Farmers, you know, the ones who provide blood, sweat and tears, daily, to make sure their animals are happy and healthy and that we have enough good, wholesome crops to feed a demanding hungry world.
Lately, I have witnessed a great attack on farmers and their use of gestation stalls. An attack I take pretty personally.
The question is ... do we have gestation stalls on our farm? Yes, we do.

One our pigs lounging in her individual stall

I'm sure many of you have seen videos and images of pigs housed in gestation crates. I have too, and it makes my stomach sick. Not only does it make my stomach hurt, but it makes my heart hurt, because I see things so much differently - we take great pride in how healthy our pigs are and how well cared for they are.

When we got started farming, we were still raising some pigs outdoors and some in deep-bedded group pens. So we have the personal experience to compare gestation stalls and group pens. And let me tell you, pigs are not the image of health and happiness in a group pen - they are beat up, scraped up, bloody and toothless.

Does this look like a healthy, happy pig? Poor baby is all beat up!

I'll be downright honest, some hogs are quite violent and will actually gang up and kill the weaker ones in a group setting. They bite tails, ears, vulvas (sorry if that's TMI, just being honest!), throw each other against a wall, butt the weak ones away from water and feed, constantly. And you do your best to group them by size, but it's not always even about size - some pigs are just mean!

You will NEVER have that scenario in a gestation stall, never ever. Every pig on our farm gets individual health care, individualized feed rations and their own personal water nipple and no boss sow is ever going to push anyone around (except my husband!) and injure another pig. I'd invite you to visit a pork farm and see for yourself!

We have evolved in the pork industry to house our pigs in gestation stalls and farrowing stalls for a reason and specifically for the health and safety of the pig. We are utilizing the best in technology including climate controlled barns so our pigs don't get cold or overheat (remember pigs can't sweat), state-of-the art flooring to allow for the cleanest bed for our pigs to sleep and rest on, ventilation systems, cooling cells, automated feeders and the gestation stalls give our pigs every opportunity in the world to eat and drink as much as they want in peace without getting beat and abused by their fellow pig neighbors.

Baby piggies born in a farrowing stall (different from a gestation stall). Aren't they cute?!

Click here for the full story on how our piggies are raised, housed and cared for, daily.” More at:


Pig farmers face pressure on size of gestation crates

Tom Dittmer stands near the group housing for pigs in a gestation building at Grandview Farms in Eldridge, Iowa. “The reason the industry switched to crates wasn’t because we wanted to harm our animals,

more photos more photos

Tom Dittmer stands near the group housing for pigs in a gestation building at Grandview Farms in Eldridge, Iowa. “The reason the industry switched to crates wasn’t because we wanted to harm our animals," he said. “We did it because we thought it was what was best for the animals." Photos by Stephen Mally New York Times News Service

ELDRIDGE, Iowa — “Sow 44733 had broken the shoulder of one of her pen mates, rousted another who was huddled in the corner and was chewing on the ear of a third.  Other sows in the pen sported abrasions, torn ears and bloody tail stumps — all souvenirs of her attentions.

It was that kind of behavior that led hog farmers like Tom Dittmer to isolate sows in individual stalls called gestation crates that are barely bigger than the pigs themselves.

“The reason the industry switched to crates wasn’t because we wanted to harm our animals," Dittmer said. “We did it because we thought it was what was best for the animals." The move also kept the price of pork reasonably low for consumers, he said.” By Stephanie Strom / New York Times News Service       More at:


Changing from Sow Gestation Crates to Pens: Problem or Opportunity?

“The question remains: how can we minimize aggression and competition among group-housed sows? The most serious and injurious aggression and competition among group-kept sows occurs upon introduction of new sows to a group (mixing) and at feeding-time. Upon mixing, sows will fight with a high level of aggression, part of their natural attempt to form a new dominance hierarchy. The aim of sow management must be to enable the formation of the social order with as little stress and physical injury as possible.

Still, in many layouts, a sow's ability to retreat and protect itself is limited. A number of excessively fat sows may occur due to over-eating by dominant sows, as well as a number of very thin sows may develop due to reduced feed intake by low-ranking, submissive sows. Moreover, this increased fighting can result in vulva biting skin lesions and wounds on rump, shoulders and other regions of the body as well as lameness.

In loose accommodation with relatively large space allowances and few places for sows to get 'cornered' by an aggressive groupmate – there are the options of large groups with sows entering and leaving the group each week (dynamic group management); weekly service groups which stay together throughout pregnancy (static group management); smaller groups with each weeks sows broken up into a number of subgroups; and/or a combination of these, each used at different stages of pregnancy.”  More at:


Enhanced Pork

”In 1985, Congress created the National Pork Board to help producers provide consumers with leaner pork. As a result, today's pigs are much leaner than they were 20 years ago, averaging 31% less fat. This is great for the waistline but has made today's pork prone to dryness and blandness. Some producers have responded by injecting the meat with an "enhanced" solution of water, salt, sodium phosphates, sodium lactate, potassium lactate, and sodium diacetate to bolster flavor and juiciness.

Sometimes, you can taste unappealing, artificial, and salty flavors in "enhanced" pork. Pork that has been "enhanced" with artificial ingredients must be accordingly labeled so check the packaging carefully. If you are buying pork that is not packaged, make sure and ask the butcher.”


Would You Like Extra Ractopamine With Your Pork, Sir?

“If you haven't heard of the drug ractopamine before, you're probably not alone. But if you've eaten intensively reared pork, beef or turkey, then you will almost certainly have consumed meat from an animal that's been fed the drug -- and probably eaten ractopamine yourself.

In a recent test of pork chop and ground pork samples from six U.S. cities, Consumer Reports found low levels of ractopamine in almost one-fifth of the 240 pork products analyzed, as well as a range of other nasties -- including several strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Ractopamine is a growth promoter drug. It is widely used on intensive livestock farms in the U.S. because it increases the rate of weight gain and carcass leanness in pigs, cattle and turkey. It's estimated that up to 80 percent of the U.S. pig herd is fed the drug every year. Of course, the drug doesn't come without its costs.

The European Union, China, Taiwan and more than 100 other countries have long banned its use in livestock farming because of concerns about the effect of ractopamine residues in meat on human health. As a result, many countries will not import U.S. meat from animals that have been fed the drug.”    More at:


On This Day:

Nelson Mandela released from prison, Feb 11, 1990:

“Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990.

Mandela spent the first 18 of his 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben Island Prison. Confined to a small cell without a bed or plumbing, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He could write and receive a letter once every six months, and once a year he was allowed to meet with a visitor for 30 minutes. However, Mandela's resolve remained unbroken, and while remaining the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement, he led a movement of civil disobedience at the prison that coerced South African officials into drastically improving conditions on Robben Island. He was later moved to another location, where he lived under house arrest.

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk became South African president and set about dismantling apartheid. De Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and in February 1990 ordered the release of Nelson Mandela.

Mandela subsequently led the ANC in its negotiations with the minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One year later, the ANC won an electoral majority in the country's first free elections, and Mandela was elected South Africa's president.”



“Pierre” arrived for grooming.  His ‘Mom” was visiting her Mom across the street. He is very sweet Poodle, was very good, and his Mom loved the way I groomed him.

As you can see, in the afternoon I took too much time reading about the cruelty to these poor mammals, when really, we aren’t supposed to be eating them anyway.  I cut out four articles about pigs, as it made this post too long.

Thinking that it was my turn to go to the cat habitat, and I was going to drop off my water bill on the way.  Then I realized that my time at the habitat is next Sunday.   I had left it too late to pay the water bills online, due today, and the late charges on our (Ray’s and mine) two water bills are enormous.   So I am going to make an early run into town to drop it in their overnight box before they open today.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Glad I have my own well but it cost a lot for maintenance, especially when it has to be pulled.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

I have had my own wells at another places, had to buy the pumps, and pay well companies to come out to do the maintenance. I didn't want that again.

When I moved here the water bills were cheap, under $20 a month, but like everything, they went up, they are nearly $50 now. Partly because they added a sewer fee, and the SJRA got involved and added their cut. Now, I wish I did have my own well, and sewer system. Maybe next place.

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny