Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nicholas Kristof once again lies about modern food production in New York Times

Modern age agriculture nor confinement buildings have anything to do with pigs being cannibals. Pigs have been cannibals since the beginning of time. This is why criminals have used pigs as means of disposing of murder victims through the years.
The practice of introducing dead pigs back to the mothers is not a new-age, modern agricultural method of immunization. In fact, as a 4-H livestock producer in the early 1980's I had pigs infected with Transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) in my herd. At that time, I had no pigs in confinement; all of them were raised on dirt outside. TGE and the current PEDv are cousins for which no vaccine is currently available.

Animal diseases always have and always will be a component of producing animals for food. Today, pig farmers of all sizes and types are breaking with PEDv. It does not discriminate against one type or size.

I would close by reminding all of you that if you have ever been given a vaccination, you to have had the disease given to you as a means of immunization. Fortunately vaccine companies have made it convenient for humans so we can get it in the form of a shot instead of eating it from another diseased human. Both physiological processes work in the same manner.

It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of American Agriculture in that these disease outbreaks have been rare thanks to modern technologies. However, it is but a grim reminder that when you raise livestock, you will inevitably have deadstock.

For more information about what is really going on with pig farmers of all sizes link to 

Rural Route Radio with Dr. Steve Dritz from Kansas State University who is a true expert in the field. 

Link to the show that aired Feb 18, 2014 

Trent Loos
6th Generation Nebraska Farmer
Loup City NE

2 comments:

Mike Smith said...

Good one, Trent. I think Kristoff is trying for a two-fer on his past accomplishments:
http://stats.org/stories/2009/worst_science_kristof_dec14_09.html
Keep at 'am

Matt Richmond said...

This is an interesting point, and one well worth noting. Pigs are not humans, after all. I don't think that people eating other dead people would actually prove an effective immunization strategy in most cases, since the virus/bacteria needs to be more severely weakened and many illnesses are actually spread by contact with dead bodies, but regardless...if it works with pigs, it works. And if they are natural cannibals (I am just accepting this at face value since I don't know otherwise), who are we to argue with nature?

I wonder what you have to say about the other things he mentions in that article, though? About hogs being locked up in tiny pens where they can't move, are held without social interaction, and get no exercise? The sores and joint problems that go along with that? And then, of course, the antibiotic resistance created by the use of preventative antibiotics?

Is he overstating the issue? Is this actually very rare? It seems hard to argue that these particular things are natural, since pigs are social creatures under different circumstances--not to mention more intelligent than most animals. But I am not knowledgeable on the topic and would be very interested in hearing the other side. Your perspective or even just some links that I could read would be great.