I was going to blog about a great supermarket salad I picked up yesterday: quinoa, beetroot, pear and pecan nuts, with a cider vinegar mustard dressing. Very, very pink and very, very tasty. Instead I was stopped in my tracks by an FB post from a non-veggie/vegan friend. She was horrified to read an NY Times article about the breeding and experimentation programmes carried out at the US Meat Animal Research Centre located in Nebraska. A taxpayer-funded institution, it undertakes “high-risk, potentially controversial research that other institutions will not do or are no longer allowed to do.” It’s a long article, brace yourself and you can read it here.
Needless to say the journalist describes cruelty, neglect and levels of exploitation that beggar belief; mistreatment that shocks veterinarians, members of the farming community and other scientists. I won’t share any of the graphic examples here but just this one relatively mild initiative: the genetic development of leaner pigs, who are so lean they stop ovulating. Yes, anorexic pigs – now that has to be the oxymoron of the century. With a new quandary to master, the scientists overlook the fact that body fat is a requirement of nature for female fertility and instead explore ways to manipulate the endocrine connection between the brain and the ovaries so that these skinny sows will be able to produce piglets for the lean tastes of the market. (I thought it was the fat that gave ‘pork’ its sweet flavour in the cooking?)
I am left wondering how this information goes, or is kept, under the radar of public consciousness (especially as it is government funded), and aghast at how animal husbandry can have turned into a BigAg dystopia.