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Should North Carolina Neighbors Mention “China” in Their Pig Poop Lawsuit?

Is Asia’s appetite for pork to blame for North Carolina’s pig poop problem?

Photo by (cc) flickr user andjohan

We’ve all dealt with lousy neighbors before, but the North Carolina residents suing Smithfield Foods can say theirs are literally pigs. In 25 separate nuisance suits brought against the company–America’s largest provider of pork—over 500 North Carolinians claim that sub-par pork waste disposal methods are resulting in a disgusting mist of pig feces and urine that wafts over into nearby homes. But, what at first seems like an ordinary, albeit super-gross, dispute between neighbors, is actually just the latest sign of just how intertwined our global economy has made us.

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Let's Stop Big Meat From Manipulating Prices

A farm bill amendment would stop meatpackers from being both buyers and sellers of livestock, an unfair market pressure on local farms.

The average grocery store may seem packed with variety. The cereal aisle has a dizzying array of options—five kinds of Cheerios alone. This variety is an illusion. A handful of food processors dominate most grocery store aisles and sell their products under multiple brand names. The milk case offers a good example. Dean Foods or one of its subsidiaries owns or sells the following brands: AltaDena, Berkeley Farms, Borden, Country Fresh, Garelick, Lehigh Valley, Mayfield Farms, Shenandoah’s Pride, Verifine, Horizon Organic, Organic Cow of Vermont and several dozen others.

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Pig Love: How the Fast-Food Industry Is Making Pork More Humane

Mistreated porkers are increasingly finding some unusual allies—fast-food restaurants.


Factory-farmed pigs lead a grim life. Breeding sows are kept locked inside gestation crates for the entire duration of their pregnancies—about four months. These enclosures, which are illegal in eight U.S. states, are so small the animals can’t even turn around. Once the pigs give birth and their piglets are weaned, the animals are inseminated again and again over a period of three years, after which time they’re typically killed. It’s a brutal and largely unsanitary process. And in America’s multi-billion-dollar pork industry, it’s standard.

But there’s reason to hope that pigs are making progress toward greener pastures. Mistreated porkers are increasingly finding some unusual allies—fast-food restaurants.

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Are Pig Farms Flu Factories?

American pig farms basically act like "flu factories," says an article in Scientific American. It's another unintended consequence of cheap meat.

The outbreak of bird flu (H5N1) five years ago and last year's swine flu (H1N1) pandemic resulted from viruses jumping from animals into humans, which led to some calls for increased monitoring of birds and pigs on farms.

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How to Make a McRib (Not for a Limited Time Only)

Ryan Adams explains how anyone can make a delicious pork sandwich at home. All it takes is pork belly and patience.

Last week, McDonald's rolled out the McRib, the elusive and experimental sandwich that's been on and off the chain's menu since 1981. One of the oddest things about the sandwich is its pork patty, which has mechanically pressed "ribs" that hardly look like they've come from a piglet (maybe a small cat or a ferret instead?).

So thankfully, Ryan Adams, who blogs at Nose to Tail at Home, has transformed the sandwich by substituting pork belly for those perplexing preformed pork patties. He also shows how to recreate the other basic ingredients—rolls, pickles, BBQ sauce, and pork belly—without visiting the drive-through or picking up frozen meat patties at Walmart.

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