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Pig Farms and Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Written by PETA | March 12, 2009

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof usually writes about Darfur and other far-off lands, but this week, he ventured into America’s heartland to talk about a plague that is afflicting a small town in Indiana that happens to be home to factory hog farms. The plague is MRSA—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, aka “flesh-eating bacteria.” You can read Kristof’s fascinating column here.

There’s no proof—yet—of any link between Camden, Indiana’s MRSA outbreak and the surrounding hog farms, but Kristof notes that a strain of MRSA has been linked to hog farms in the Netherlands, and that same strain has been found in 45 percent of pig farmers and 49 percent of pigs tested by a researcher at the University of Iowa.

Of course, MRSA is just one of many scary life- and health-threatening bugs found lurking in pig flesh. Other, common pork-borne bacteria include listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. Pig flesh is also host to trichina and tape worms (one of the latter was recently removed from a woman’s brain—blecch). And let’s not forget the SARS epidemic that swept Asia a few years ago and may return—not to mention the loads of saturated fat and cholesterol in every slice of ham, bacon, and sausage.

Kristof cautions that MRSA is just the tip of the disease iceberg that can likely be traced to the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. And with all that filth on factory farms, antibiotic use is rampant. Stay tuned, because Kristof plans to talk more about that issue in his Sunday column.

Meanwhile, you can check out previous columns that Nicholas Kristof has written about factory farming here and here.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Rakesh Krishnan says:

    I’m touched by the messages left here by westerners who are traditionally meat eaters. I’m Indian not red but brown! and I come from a family of meat eaters but in 1997 I stopped eating all meat fish eggs after reading a life changing book called Autobiography of a Yogi. I remained a true vegetarian for eight years and then I moved to New Zealand and from 2006 April onwards started eating meat again with a vengeance! Last month I went to India pigged out excuse the expression and became so sated that now I feel little need for meat and fish. I still eat eggs though. I gave up meat when I loved it and it was a thing of pride for me like a badge of honour. I used to be the only meat eater in my office in New Delhi and was made fun of in a sporting way of course but I enjoyed being a vegetarian. Mainly because I became healthier fell sick far less often had better sex! But also became I was different from my colleagues. However New Zealand being an agrarian country meat is everywhere. So I got teased into consuming it in large quantities. I was eating meat five days a week but the taste being bland I wasn’t enjoying after the first few bites. So the cravings became stronger. In India over one whole month I cut loose and was eating tonnes of meat good tasty fare. And I ate so much that I now feel what was the entire thing about! Just something to fill our stomach. Osho was so right about sex. Just get it out of your system. Have so much sex that you realise there’s a need for somthing more. And that’s meditation. Though frankly I have to test that out too!

  • Shelby Painter says:

    While I believe in everything PeTA stands for I do need to clear up one statement that was missused. “MRSA” is NOT “aka anything… It is staff yes but NOT the “flesh eating disease” .That particular disease is called “necratizing Fasciaitis” sp sorry for the spelling…we call it NF in the Hospital. While PeTa’s work is grand and I want to do more I just wanted to cear that up…. I will be posting again. i just joined the site… thanx…..

  • leighwisda says:

    We have a pig that lives on our farm. Once you spend time with pigs you would never eat one again. I live in rural Indiana we myself and 2 little girls are veggies although we get funny stares when we bring our veggie hot dogs to picnic it’s worth it.

  • HurricaneCiao says:

    Meg your story is so touching so revealing of the hostility callousness and denegration so often afforded to these poor animals by human beings. Thanks for sharing

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    For 5 years I worked as a “farmer” tour guide for a company that came to Irvine Regional Park. The local schools would bus in students from local elemantary schools and they would get to interact with animals many would not normally see. The pigs were among their favorites. My employer used to tell us to give all of the animals names since the kids were sure to ask what they were. I always gave every animal a human usually biblical name such as Judah Job Elijah etc I spent so much time at the pig pen that I was able to tell them all apart and be consistant with the names I had given each one. One of the teachers came to the farm several times with different classes and she always asked for me to lead the group. One day she told me the reason why she had a different “farmer” one day I was leading another group and that “farmer” told the class the pigs names were “Breakfast Lunch Dinner Bacon Pork Chop Ham Hock..” well you get the idea. She stated she was a vegan and liked the way I conveyed to the children that these animals should not be seen as food.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Pigs are very smart and sociable animals that should never be killed.

  • Cat! =^-^= says:

    I read the article I’m an AVID NYT reader and was deeply disturbed to know that in spite of proven past cases of foodrelated illnesses related to pork people are eating more bacon spam and pork chops than ever. This really bothers me. Even for the meateaters who don’t care about animal rights don’t they care that the agribusiness giants show so little disregard for the “product” that they are selling to their unknowing consumers?