And then today, after reading the Tribune series….
I want to talk to my Dad.
I grew up on a pig farm in central Illinois in the fifties. I recently read the series in the Chicago Tribune titled “The Price of Pork” in Illinois. The series was broken down into 4 major parts–cheap meat, animal abuse, pollution, & hard work. The stories, editorial, photos and video are available online: http://chicagotribune.com/pork
My dad was a hog farmer with a vision that brought him much success and accolades during his farming career. Breeding stock buyers from around the country and from as far away as Japan and Brazil came to our farm.
Every summer was spent at the fairs. Dad showed hogs for 50 years at the Illinois State Fair, but he also traveled to many local and out of state competitions.
This photo is from a later edition of the World Book Encyclopedia featuring one of my dad’s Yorkshire hogs. Dad also was known for Black Poland China and Spotted Poland China breeds.
I feel like the morality has disappeared from our food chain. A few years ago I attended a Farm to Table dinner in Wisconsin. Constant confinement was a new concept for me. The huge family milk farm operation was probably the best it could be. The owners seem to be conscientious of good care and cleanliness. The Chicago Tribune editorial points out that other states do a better job. They mention “the more regulatory authority there is in place, and more visible it is, the more likely farmers and business owners will be to act responsibly.”
Once more, Illinois has let us down.
(Before I continue, I will admit I had bacon for breakfast. Bacon and Snickers are my two favorite foods and the state fair today probably offers deep fried Snickers wrapped in bacon–mmmm.)
Therefore, from this day forward, I am going to do my best to switch primarily to a plant based diet. In order to feed the world and save the planet, it seems to be the only way.
I’m tired of worrying about antibiotics and hormones and the lack of health safety associated with our food, especially meats. I know chickens are raised in tiny little overcrowded dirty cages.
This week I bought Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs. The informational insert says “Family Farmers Raise Our Girls With Loving Care” and “raised on grass and free to roam, y’all”. And surprise–the yolks are a little darker, firmer, and tastier! However, they did cost more.
But then again, my dad always used to say, “You get what you pay for”.
Quality over quantity is admirable, but it doesn’t pad the greedy corporate bottom line!