Farmers make a killing by killing 150,00 pigs for no reason

Erik says: "Now that Canada’s fishermen are almost done with clubbing seals for the year, the Canadian government has turned its attention to the pigs. Ottawa has just approved a massive bail out of pig farmers at taxpayer expense. They’ve worked out a deal for pig farmers to kill of 150,000 pigs by the autumn, in exchange for a $50 million payout. Not a single ounce of that flesh will become ham or back bacon – it’ll all be ground up into pet food or otherwise disposed of so as to prop up pork prices." Link


  1. Hyperbole, much?

    The third paragraph — and also the third sentence, so it’s not like this is buried — reads:

    Most of the meat is to be used for pet food or otherwise disposed of, but up to 25 per cent of it will be made available to Canadian food banks.

    So, assuming that 150,000 pigs yield more than 4 oz. of ham, it’s pretty safe to say that this will indeed yield a single oz. of it. Probably more.

    I mean, I even agree with the anti-pig-farming / anti-extra-slaughter point of view, but, c’mon.

  2. I really don’t understand farm subsidies. I understand why they were instituted in the past, but, today, couldn’t that food actually be grown and sold–either to the UN and distributed where it’s needed, to other countries, etc? Besides, I didn’t know bacon and ham were so cheap in the first place.

  3. Or, better yet, just let them live? IANAPF (I am not a pig farmer), so I’m guessing this is done for a couple of reasons:

    1. It’s expensive to keep pigs past their selling date. Keeping them alive is probably more money it’s worth to the farmers in the long run. There is probably some formula that factors in the cost of keeping a pig over X years at Y cost per day.

    2. Older flesh is not worth as much. I’m not saying worthless, but the cost would be reduced.

    Let’s say a wholesale pig is worth $800. The government is paying out ~$333 a pig. The farmers can now turn around and sell these on the cheap and still get at least close to a profit.

    Also, it’s not like these pigs weren’t going to die anyway – they were, probably in a very horrific and bloody way. But their life is cheapened in our eyes because they aren’t being consumed by humans, but instead will be consumed by pets or by nothing.

    I’m sure there are many arguments people will make, i.e. starving people everywhere would want to eat pig meat, what a waste of life, government is too powerful, etc. The main problem we are looking at here is the way we raise our animals, and the factory farming system in general.

  4. As a former “small farm” resident (I won’t say owner,because my parents owned the property), I oppose subsidies of any kind for corporate farms, in any country, for any reason.

    Farm subsidies should only be used to keep “small farm” farming culture alive. Farms having over X numbers of product producing acres, or X numbers of one type of livestock should be uneligible for subsidies. Subsidies to corporate farms do nothing for the working poor, or to maintain small farm culture, or protect market value of small farm goods as they were orginally intended.

    And to top it off those small farms recieving subsidies should have to verify farming activity yearly with reciepts and photos.

  5. Sounds like Bureaucratism to me, but with pigs… I suppose thats Canadbureaucratism eh?

    SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows, and you give one to your neighbour.

    COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

    FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

    NAZISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

    BUREAUCRATISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, then throws the milk away…

    TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

    SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  6. Hey, the US tosses young men and women into the meatgrinder in order to prop up the defense industry; this waste of flesh seems noble in comparison.

    still, i do lament the loss of all that Canadian bacon…

  7. Misleading blogging on both Erik and Mark’s part IMO. #2’s already pointed to the actual paragraphs which Erik has skipped over.

    @Mark: I’d hardly call this making a “killing”. In many cases, as the linked article also explained, pig farmers are attempting to scrape out enough money to keep their farms and, as such, the governments involvement is not for “no reason”. Killing the pigs = monies = farmers keeping the farms.

    The issue is problematic in other ways (use taxpayer’s money, the question of when and if the U.S will begin buying again, etc.) but your representation of the story didn’t do it much justice.

  8. TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, but the agribusiness next door undersells you. You lose your home due to free market economics. You can’t afford health care. You die in the gutter.

  9. “Killing the pigs = monies = farmers keeping the farms.”

    I like it when people say monies.

  10. I was talking to a guy who is head of one of the larger local dairy cooperatives here in eastern Canada who says that the problem is a lack of a quota system for pig farmers. There’s a glut of pigs, consumers are used to cheap pork so the meat packers can’t pay what the pigs are worth, leaving the farmers to get paid $150 *less* than the cost of raising the pig. Doesn’t matter if its big factory farms or old family farms, they’re all facing bankruptcy.

    The primary problem is that they’re all raised on grain which has been soaring in price. A few clever farms (ones with the land to do it) are starting to pasture their pigs — these they sell as a boutique product, because there’s no way you can get the economy of scale like that. Makes for good pork though.

  11. On NPR this morning (early this morning) there was a report about how pork prices in China have risen to the point that many families can’t afford it. Cause? Rise in grain prices, rise is pork production prices, rise in demand…
    We talk about globalization, but there is some serious disconnect going on when people in China have pork shortage and people in Canada have pork surplus, and the best solution is pet food.

  12. There was a similar New Deal program that killed millions of pigs during the Great Depression, when millions of people were hungry,and none of the meat was saved, stored or given away. An outraged uncle used to call FDR ‘The Great Pig Killer.’

  13. @#16 – During questioning about this in the early campaign, Jr was quoted as saying, “I didn’t penetrate, and I didn’t try again.”

  14. Modern Capitalism:

    You have a herd of cows. You hire a bunch of illegal immigrants to tend them, slaughter them and sell the meat. Since there are no controls, some of the illegals get sick or injured and go to the Emergency Room and get care, which they can’t and don’t pay for. The price of beef stays down, but the price of health care and health insurance skyrockets. The owners of the ranch get rich, while everybody else suffers.

  15. As someone who works with hog farmers, I would suggest that this is more than a little misleading. Due to a number of circumstances outside their control, primarily a weak American dollar versus a strong Canadian dollar, high feed prices due to American ethanol legislation, the proposed COOL legislations, and provincial government legislation that is in opposition to the government’s own studies on sustainability, hog farmers here are losing about $50 per animal. The people I work with are not huge corporate farmers, but small businessmen and women. Like any business, they can only lose money for so long before they have to shut down.

  16. “Due to a number of circumstances outside their control,”

    God. It sounds like James Taggart making excuses for Associated Steel not making its deliveries. Gd lck n ths plcs, Cnd.

    “It’s not their fault!”

  17. Well, the farmers around here (Manitoba) bought/bred the pigs based on contracts they had signed with US importers. Because of the COOL legislation coming into effect this fall, those contracts were voided by nervous importers who are afraid of being committed to pigs that they won’t be able to sell in the US.

    Tack on the rising Canadian loonie and incredibly high feed costs, there are a lot of farmers who risk losing everything this season.

    I’m not a huge fan of hog farming, even though it’s one of our province’s main agri-businesses. But to say that the hogs are being slaughtered for no reason is pretty misleading. It’s not as if the government said, “Hey, we’ll pay you to kill pigs!” The slaughter was already underway by the time the gov’t decided to kick in cash for the farmers.

  18. How come the effect of illegal immigrants upon the cost of healthcare keeps getting dragged into every topic imaginable, and never has any sort of evidence to back it up?

  19. Do you people have any idea how many shit a pig produces? A lot. This is just a buyout for the farmers who want to get out of hog farming.

    The reason we have farm subsidies is that famine sucks. If we don’t produce more food than we can eat, eventually some crop will get hit with a nasty disease and we’ll have less food than we need. Then we get to have food riots. Trust me, you don’t want food riots. You might think that the market will adjust and fix an imbalance in food production. And it will, eventually. But crops take a long time to grow and in the meantime, people starve.

  20. Heeeere’s the breakdown, according to (an UK based international swine industry newsite – who knew?)

    US market (apparently – UK pig dude ought to know, I guess) has large supply of pigs, drives price down to 97$ per pig. Feeding the pig, plus overhead (farm mortgage, employees, etc.) puts the cost nearer to 160$ a pig. That means Canadian farms are frak’d. So, rather than let the Canadian swine farms suffer a major collapse (and have to buy bacons from the US – might have gone for it, had you paid for the damn trees, by the way) Government buys-out the industry.

    The Canadian government is buying out the industry at $333 a head (that’s 173$ profit, for those who don’t have their calculator out) , with the hope that farmers can trek along until raising pigs is profitable again, and in return, the pigs are going to be used for making pet foods, food bank stock, etc. (hey, there’s a bunch more jobs saved!) Old news – happens all the time. Happens for farmers growing corn and it happened just the other week for a US bank.

    There’s a $300 Billion (with a b) farm bill in front of Congress right now, which will do much the same thing. And it’s not the first one.

    So, what is this all about, this post/thread? Nothing in this story seems to be exceptional, relatively speaking. Except that it’s two big numbers and people have been asked to opine on them out of context, so the reactions seem to be mostly about hating buy-outs and hating killing pigs, when this isn’t a terribly big example of either.

  21. @#26 “But crops take a long time to grow and in the meantime, people starve.”

    I have a modest proposal.

  22. Hey, turn the pigs into biodiesel — that’s doing a fine job of driving up the price of corn here in the Untied States. And rendering them down for lard to be processed into oil ought to be even more ridiculously wasteful of resources.

    Now if only they’d export more Canadian bacon to the US. What we get under the name of bacon is strips of salted fat.

  23. More importantly, you are an innocent pig if you thinks poor sick bastards are wonderful fucking things.

  24. How come the effect of illegal immigrants upon the cost of healthcare keeps getting dragged into every topic imaginable, and never has any sort of evidence to back it up?

    Because the price of healthcare sucks and part of that cost is free care given to illegals? But let’s just put out heads in the sand and ignore that, OK?

  25. You sick of a shame fucking if you are a poor, innocent thing? Pigs think that slaughter is the “[]” for a wonderful bastard.

  26. I have never personally slaughtered a hog.

    Let us conduct a little thought experiment: Myself (hungry), hog (living).

    First, the introductions: “Hello pig, I am hungry and am going to kll and eat you” Pig: “screee-unk!”

    Presuming the containment is already done, the execution; in the absence of firearms and pneumatic slaughter equipment (heads or tails?) I imagine I would revert to the sledge. Raising twenty pounds of hickory hafted steel high, a clean downward strike between the eyes, thwack-crunch! The hog sags to its knees, blood shoots from its nose, it staggers but does not collapse. Again; twenty pounds of steel smacks down Thwack! Final collapse. Blood pools as the mouth and nose drain red.

    Now, four hundred pounds of cooling meat, on the ground. Feces and urine squirt out the hindquarters, blood and snot collect at the other end.

    The block and tackle. With effort the carcass is raised, a hard thrust with the crooked knife and a rocking stroke to cut the neck arteries and veins, a crimson cascade collects in the bucket. Mustn’t waste good blood protein, sausage contains all.

    The straight knife next, clean slashes from groin to chine, the bung of the anus cut around, the waterfall of blood and loose organs onto the tarpaulin (mustn’t waste protein) The carcass still twitches as the muscles slowly realize the fact of death.

    to be continued

  27. Postmodern capitalism:

    For every one farmer running an automated parlor that milks 200 cows an hour, there are 500 other people sitting in their den, in their underwear, blogging about how it has something to do with immigration & health care.

  28. thats hogwash.

    however, the pigs will be used for pet food. it’s not like they are killing them and throwing them in a ditch.

  29. @this thread

    It’s too bad the world isn’t perfect, or we would all be stuck with the inability to complain… which would make the world imperfect.

    On second thought, perhaps the perfect world would allow us the ability to complain about not being able to complain! I stand corrected…

  30. It’s not “for no reason” – it’s “for no good reason”. :)

    Seriously, though, while it might seem like a better idea to export the pork to China (as a previous poster indicated they have a shortage), I think international laws put a lot of restrictions on that sort of thing to prevent the spread of disease.

  31. #10

    TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: Someone you don’t know owns two cows. You do all his work for him. He is a dick.

  32. Seriously? We’re back on the clubbing seals thing? According to my anthropology professors, that’s by far the most humane way to do it – a bullet just poisons them, and ruins the hide to boot. They’re still used quite well for native communities as well.

  33. TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: someone’s brain dead whelp becomes president, many brown people die. The world’s milkshake gets drunk by a drunk. All die.

  34. According to my anthropology professors, that’s by far the most humane way to do it.

    Please tell me that you’re being ironic. First of all, someone who stands behind a podium probably doesn’t know squat about the reality of blood and pain and death. Second, it’s been common practice to stun them by clubbing them, then skin them alive. Let’s try that on your anthro professor and see how he likes it. I wouldn’t mind having an academic fur jacket.

  35. leopard seal pups don’t get skinned. Cod eating fur seals do. Also, since much of the meat North Americans chow down on every day comes from animals that were frequently butchered while sensate, why should seals merit special notice?

  36. I hope they’re not feeding that dead pig to chickens.

    Modern Capitalism: apply any kind of Band-aid that will patch a problem but not really address it. This way, you never have to actually think about how the system works and how it might work better. Remember: thinking is for Commies and academics!

    “Because the price of healthcare sucks and part of that cost is free care given to illegal immigrants.”

    Oh, puh-lease! Saying this is like saying that the high price of gas is due to truckers leaving their engines running while they get a coffee-to-go.

    Getting rid of truckers would no more lower the cost of oil than sending every illegal immigrant home would reduce the cost of health care.

    The healthcare crisis in this country has been brewing for decades, and has precisely nothing to do with illegal immigration.

  37. Illegal immigrants almost never seek healthcare unless it’s that or death. They know that they’ll be pinched by the INS if they do. Besides, you can’t really get healthcare anymore without proof of insurance or an Amex card.

  38. 40 million American citizens can’t get health care, and this Moon character thinks the wetbacks are using up his share! Typical scapegoating psychology.

    “someone’s brain dead whelp becomes president”

    Takuan, I take exception to your comparing Bush to a brain-dead puppy. A brain-dead puppy has more sense and infinitely more class.

  39. #44 posted by scottfree

    Good thing you both have agreed upon the wage that makes it worth while to put up with his dickishness eh? or are you slave labor?

  40. Good thing you both have agreed upon the wage that makes it worth while to put up with his dickishness eh? or are you slave labor?”

    R-i-i-ight: if you accept a wage, it must be a fair wage. You couldn’t POSSIBLY be faced with the prospect of starvation if you didn’t accept it. Economic coercion is still coercion.

  41. Typical scapegoating psychology.

    He also thinks that the Dalai Lama wants to reinstitute theocratic slavery in Tibet, so it’s better to have the benevolent, loving and kind PRC keep the Tibetans safe from The Bad Things.

  42. Scapegoating psychology is a close relative to bully psychology.

    Bullies often blame their victims for the problems that arise from their bullying. As when China blames Tibetans for not accepting foreign rule submissively. Damn troublemakers!

  43. For of is a shame
    if you , pigs

    think that the
    poor sick
    innocent slaughter

    fucking bastard
    You are a
    “wonderful thing[].”

  44. #52 – No, but someone with 20+ years doing fieldwork in the far north, before he became a professor, might. And it’s far from the only animal skinned alive – ever heard of the practice of shucking bunnies? It was depicted in Roger & Me, and is far from uncommon “down south.”

    Takuan’s got it right on the nose – the cultural association between white and purity + shocking red blood = everyone freaking out.

    At least the Inuit and other groups use the *whole seal*, unlike other animals that just get skinned for their fur.

  45. Spoon, where the hell do you work? Who does that?

    and MODERN CAPITALISM: All cows are kept in underground vaults. Certificates of cow ownership handed back and forth between small group of people. Taste of milk forgotten by all.

  46. FUTURE CAPITALISM: There is no more oil. Rather than being slaughtered, the pigs are kept for their shit, from which methanol is derived. Methanol production becomes the primary industry of a town in the wasteland, whose economy is organized around some form of non-cash exchange. The political structure of the town is marked by tensions between a midget riding on top of a giant, and a former R&B singer. There are laws, and people know them.

  47. read the damn article…some of it will be used for human consumption, and there ARE reasons for the slaughter. i am a little concerned about the lack of reading comprehension and use of dramatic hyperbole by the folks at BB…

  48. Umm… far be it from me to inject a note of reality, but… I’ve actually slaughtered animals. Never a pig, but I’ve seen it done.

    I’m religious; I believe that you should not eat meat unless you are willing to kill food animals. I would prefer to kill all my own food but, unfortunately, I am not wealthy enough to do that so I live in sin.

    To kill a pig properly:

    #1 establish a reasonable level of communication with the pig. Unless you’ve raised it yourself, it will be scared or angry or confused or all three. It’s intelligent, and it knows something is happening, and you need to calm it down as much as possible. It’s a person, in the sense that it has a personality – treat it like one.

    #2 If you are not well practiced and extremely physically fit, you are going to have to tie the pig’s legs, which is going to increase the animal’s fear and suffering considerably. But this may be your best option, because a loose pig is not only going to suffer considerably more if you botch the cut, it could also kill you or innocent bystanders.

    #3 Once you’ve got it comfortable, reach under its chin with a knife that is sharp enough to be painless (if you don’t understand how that can be true, you need knife sharpening lessons first) and slice open its neck from one side to the other, going as deep as you can without getting hung up (practice on meat first, resharpen knife). The pig may scream (sounds like a woman giving birth) but only if you are not quick enough or your knife is not sharp enough. Enormous quantities of blood should splash out immediately and the pig will gurgle and squeak loudly before it drops. The rapid loss of blood pressure, and the severing of the throat, will prevent the pig killing you or running around screaming. I’ve seen an old guy do this with a straight razor (not recommended) so quickly and cleanly that the pig just sighed and dropped dead.

    Note: most pigs today are slaughtered inhumanely because of people’s inability to perform step three. Instead they stab the neck and wait while the pig dies in agony, or use killing machines like guns or captive bolt stunners.

    Note2: Pigs bite. And they weigh 200 to 600 pounds when ready for slaughter. If you are not willing to deal with that, you should not be doing this job. You should also never do it alone.

    Note3: don’t forget to thank the pig for its involuntary sacrifice. It won’t matter much to the pig, frankly, but your children should see that you are aware of the animal’s sapience so they don’t grow up taking meat for granted.

    –Anomolous Beoward

  49. Takuan:

    If you hit a pig with a sledgehammer it will most likely kill you. Or at least hurt you A LOT.

    Seriously. I was at Pennsic the year Wulf the Mighty tried to kill a pig with a sword. Seared into my memory you might say… the screaming, from pig and humans alike, was terrifying. The horses in the paddock just across from our camp smashed their fences and stampeded through the field with tent ropes snapping right and left. They were screaming too. Now animals are not allowed at Pennsic, except guide dogs.

    Medieval boar spears have a “toggle” on the haft just behind the head. This is because when you kill a boar with a spear, the dead boar runs up the shaft and KILLS YOU. Unless you have the toggle, in which case the dead boar gets stuck, and then it runs around for a while thacking you into trees and other medieval huntsman until it finally realizes it’s dead. Your skill as a huntsman is what determines how long it takes to collapse, which in turn determines how bruised up you get.


  50. Schmod@25- It’s simple. The US healthcare system is fucked. Badly fucked. It’s fucked by being a bad cobbled-together system in the first place, and further fucked by vested interests such as greedy insurance companies who see every payout as a defeat, greedy pharmaceutical companies, dishonest doctors (hopefully, only a small minority of doctors) etc.

    However, taking on systemic failure and vested interests is difficult. Far easier to blame some powerless minority such as immigrants who use up hospital care if they get injured while taking jobs from regular people, seducing innocent white virgins and eating babies. Bonus points if you describe everyone who disagrees as “putting their heads in the sand”. That way, you are a crusader for truth and justice, not a scapegoating coward.

    Takuan, et al- Harp seals (which have about as much effect on cod stocks as illegal immigrants have on hospitals- cod forms a tiny part of their diet) aren’t just cute. They are ludicrously easy to kill. Real hunters tend to be good with guns, skilled at hiding out and sometimes even willing to put their own lives at risk. In short, people you don;t want to piss off. But someone who kills tiny babies which can barely move on land and skins them, often while they are alive, seems designed to be picked on. It’s like throwing paint over rich bitches in fur coats while giving the big guy in the leather jacket a wide berth- if you are tougher than a baby seal you have no reason to fear a seal “hunter”.

  51. #4: I am not surprised that quoting misinformation about the meat production industry (The Meatrix) is coupled with gross ignorance like “Let’s say a wholesale pig is worth $800.” *facepalms* Dude, you’re on -the internet-. Facts are out there, please go find them.

    #23: Since you took offense to the explanation provided above you, perhaps you could explain how “a weak American dollar versus a strong Canadian dollar, high feed prices due to American ethanol legislation” ARE in control of pig farmers? This I’d like to hear.

    #30: We’d like to export more bacon to you in the U.S. Ask your farm lobby groups why that’s not happening.

    #50: your assertion that “much of the meat North Americans chow down on every day comes from animals that were frequently butchered while sensate” is patently incorrect. Law (at least here) dictates that livestock are stunned into unconsciousness before being bled to death. I’ve seen it done. No dramatic hyperbole required.

    Those of you griping about health care or seal hunting: please stay on topic.

    I submit that the title of the blog post ought to be changed. “For no reason” is quite misleading, and casts a pallor on the otherwise cool posts on this blog.

  52. if you really want, I can dig up that recent video of live downer cows being forklifted into bovine hell… got a strong stomach?

  53. Ian70- As far as I am aware, there is no law preventing Americans from importing Canadian bacon. If Americans choose not to buy it, that is their choice. Perhaps Canadians should have spent time advocating for their brand rather than fooling Americans into buying their bacon. In Scotland, our entire agricultural industry is built on persuading the English that Scottish meat =better meat- to the extent that English cows are sometimes shipped up here for a few weeks so they can be sold as Scottish beef. The Canadians should advocate for brand Canada (perhaps using Cory as a spokesman?) rather than saying “Woe! We can’t pass our pigs off as American any more!”.

  54. you do realise that dumping the surplus pork on third world contries just kills the market for the pig farmers in those countries…

  55. Dear Och:

    “real hunters” , like me, go for the easy, assured, minimal energy, guaranteed, no risk, maximum return kill.

    Real hunters are like lions. Lazy, cowardly, thieving, competitor’s infants murdering realists. There is no emotional/social component. That is a human vanity.

    As to seals. they don’t call it a “harvest” or a “fishery” for nothing. It’s not supposed to be a “hunt”.

    I wear no fur, but if I lived closer to the land, I don’t doubt I would. The cow that died to feed me today is no different than any other animal out there, including baby seals. I suppose I would prefer a vegetarian diet – especially as all the death weighs heavier with every passing year – but I will not be a hypocrite either. That is worse than a brutal hunter.

    Baiting sealers as “unmanly” for taking easy prey is stupid.It ignores the historical fact and the daily reality. How is a cute little baby seal’s life any more valuable than any of the fish I murdered face to face over the years? It is likely that some of those on the ice take some twisted pleasure in dashing out brains and ripping skin from living flesh, but like any other population , they are the unfortunate exception – not the rule.

    Is the hunt “necessary”? Of course not, no more necessary than any other slaughterhouse presently operating in your town.

  56. #62

    When Ali G interviewed Ralph Nader, he tries to wind him up by suggesting that flatulence be used as fuel. Nader gets visibly excited and talks about how cow farts are a massive untapped source of energy. ‘The only problem,’ he says, ‘is nobody has worked out how to fit a box on a cow’s ass.’


    It might be a bit like good cheese. It never gets exported because locals will buy as much as can be produced, and currently with food, massification equals poorer quality, so you don’t really want to mess.

  57. For those who don’t know, a “downer” cow is a cow that is unable to stand on its own, due to illness or injury; by law they cannot be used for human consumption.

    Takuan, you can post links to whatever videos you want. If it shows downer cows being properly disposed of according to legal statutes then that’s just fine. If they show otherwise then I can only hope they’re used as evidence in a court of law. I’m also disturbed by your near-pornographic description of how you would (evidently illegally) slaughter an animal.
    By the way, that photo you posted is originally by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, and the boar is not Canadian (and not wild either). The movie poster was a nice touch, though. :)

    Och, we’re not in the habit of trying to “pass off” any meat as being something it’s not. That’d be like trying to say that any steak is equivalent to one obtained from an Aberdeen Angus, which has been disproved in double-blind tests. I can personally attest that Angus steak over here in the colonies is tasty-good.
    There were agreements in place to sell pigs to the U.S. but due to fluctuating market conditions the importers thought they might lose money and backed out of the agreements; that leaves a glut of product up here. As far as our meat being better than American meat, only a double-blind study could definitively prove that.

  58. @61 Scottfree:

    Don’t forget the part where the cows only reproduce at the replacement rate while the cow certificates are printed up at a rate suggesting a bovine population boom.

  59. Sleze @23, the book you’re referring to is an underrated fantasy novel, not a guide to economics.

    Schmod @25, I agree — illegal immigrants are not what’s driving health care costs — but I let that one stand as an example of what happens when you have uninsured workers in the mix. They could just as easily be employed as “part-time management” at the nearest Wal-mart. The effect would be the same.

    Jardine @26, thanks for one of the tidiest refutations I’ve ever seen of “the invisible hand of the market will fix everything”: it takes a lot less time for people to starve than for farmers to adjust to market changes.

    Moon @35, do your homework. Illegals typically pay a lot more into the system than they take out, medical care included.

    Takuan @39: Yup, watched it done. Remarkable how much blood there is in a large mammal.

    Antinous @52: Sure you can get health care. You just have to wait until it’s an emergency. Like, you can’t afford to get a tooth filled, and you for sure can’t afford root canal; but if you show up at your borough’s 24/365 emergency dental clinic with the lower left quadrant of your face going purple and an abscess the size of a smallish onion distorting your jawline, they’ll treat you.

    I was there when the doctor came out to explain to the woman’s sister (who was there to take care of the kids) that she was being admitted to the hospital, and that they were going to try to save as much as they could of her jawbone. She can’t have been far short of septicemia, assuming she wasn’t septicemic already.

    Could be they’ll just bill her for it later. I have some uninsured friends who were 2-1/2 years paying off a bog-standard compound tibia-fibula fracture.

    Spoon @54: We now know you’ve always had more choices than you’ve had necessities and obligations. That’s nice. Everyone should have that. Trouble is, everyone doesn’t. That doesn’t mean they’re stupid, or that they deserve it. It also doesn’t mean you won’t ever find yourself holding the short end of the stick. Let us be kind, for the world is a changeable place.

    WrathoftheKitty @63, feel free to say that louder and at greater length.

  60. @#63 posted by scottfree &
    @#79 posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator

    I don’t think traditional capitalism is bad or evil, and you can assume that I’ve had choices I’ve felt where better suited for -me- in supporting all of my necessities and obligations, and I would agree. But the absolute worst in payment that I’ve received was the job I look most fondly back on.

    I worked at a Burger King for three years and loved my coworkers and employers (at least everyone below the regional management), I could have lived on the meager wage with the assumption that I would not get terribly sick (and never have a car, and never go on vacation(which I still haven’t), and never have cable T.V(still don’t) and not have a nice computer… etc etc), which where risks that caused me to act on the choice of taking a different job that I felt more comfortable with, despite the nastier coworkers and more emotionally/mentally draining tasks.

    Ultimately you’re right, the choice between Burger King and being homeless & starving wasn’t as bad as working for a ‘dick’ or starving… but I did know several people who chose to leave Burger King to be unemployed for a month before finding a job at a different establishment (coincidentally I would have not enjoyed working where they ended up more then burger king) but I don’t see that as a fault of traditional capitalism as no other system other then surrealism would have suited any of them (and to be sure I do not think any of the coworkers who left burger king to be stupid or undeserving, and I do not feel those unable to obtain employment at burger king to be stupid or undeserving)

    Here is the rest of the known economic models explained by cows (no credit to myself, you should be able to find this freely on the internet)

    AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

    ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

    THE ANDERSEN MODEL: You have two cows. You shred them.

    A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

    A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

    A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

    AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

    A RUSSIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count Them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

    A SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

    A CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

    AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.

    A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad.

    IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy….

    WELSH CORPORATION: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive.

  61. aw jeez Edith; MAD PIG?

    Sickened pork workers have new nerve disorder
    Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:22pm EDT

    By Julie Steenhuysen

    CHICAGO (Reuters) – Eighteen pork plant workers in Minnesota, at least five in Indiana and one in Nebraska have come down with a mysterious neurological condition they appear to have contracted while removing brains from slaughtered pigs, U.S. researchers and health officials said on Wednesday.

    They said the illness is a new disorder that causes a range of symptoms, from inflammation of the spinal cord to mild weakness, fatigue, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs.

  62. Dear Ian70:

    I’m not surprised you found the description of hog slaughtering titillating, many do seem to find the thin line between life and death sexually arousing, it is a basic instinct. Not for me though.

    As to the apparent “illegality” of sticking a pig on your own farm for winter bacon; get real. Long before agri-business and government inspectors and continuing through to this day, uncounted smallholders do exactly that without government oversight. Raising animals and killing them for meat ain’t rocket science. It may be art and craft, but there doesn’t need to be any manuals.

  63. @66

    Thanks for that information. I can’t lay my hand on it (probably in the the crypt)but I am sure I have a text with the basic information. I seem to recollect a diagram showing a cranked blade like a kukri with side insertion and up/down motion to sever the major neck blood vessels. I think the pig was shown as suspended by the hind legs already – extremely effective and traumatic I suppose.

    I do agree with you wholeheartedly. We should look the life we are about to consume in the eye before taking it forever. There should be no undue suffering and gratitude should be openly shown.

    I wonder how much harder it would be to fill the ranks of armies everywhere if we all were closely acquainted with the reality of killing.

  64. Takuan, please note that in my comment I said I was disturbed by what you wrote, not titillated.

    Repeatedly bludgeoning an animal with a sledgehammer is not an acceptable method and may be illegal, depending on your location. You could always contact your local authorities and ask them to scrutinize your described technique, to see whether it fits your local statutes. I’m sure they would appreciate it.

  65. “your near-pornographic description”

    “por·nog·ra·phy (pôr-nŏg’rÉ™-fÄ“) Pronunciation Key

    1. Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.”

  66. Why is your appearance synchronous with that of the word ‘pornographic’? I thought that you were changing your knickers after soiling yourself.

  67. Have you seen the little piggies
    Crawling in the dirt
    And for all the little piggies
    Life is getting worse
    Always having dirt to play around in.

    Have you seen the bigger piggies
    In their starched white shirts
    You will find the bigger piggies
    Stirring up the dirt
    Always have clean shirts to play around in.

    In their sties with all their backing
    They don’t care what goes on around
    In their eyes there’s something lacking
    What they need’s a damn good whacking.

    Everywhere there’s lots of piggies
    Living piggy lives
    You can see them out for dinner
    With their piggy wives
    Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

  68. “knickers” is inappropriate – at least until a lingerie designer weds a topologist specializing in Klein Bottles

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