But one thing is fairly certain. When pigs start exploding, it might be time for a rethink.Yet that is exactly what Kali Dingman over at the Minnesota Daily reports is happening on hog farms in the Midwest, where farmers started noticing a mysterious foam build up on top of their manure pits which was trapping methane gases, and subsequently causing explosions that killed thousands of hogs.
Doubtless, exploding pigs makes for a sensationalist story. But its the matter-of-fact description of the sheer scale of these facilities that, to me at least, should be a warning bell that we might want to start looking for an alternative approach to agriculture:
The average pig production building holds 2,000 or more pigs and costs about $600,000 to build. A heavier pig weighs about 250 pounds, and, within a few weeks of market, a barn filled with heavy pigs would be worth about $300,000. The cost of cleanup after an explosion combined with disposing of the dead hogs could easily cost a farmer up to $1 million, Jacobson said. Not only will this research benefit the pork producers and their hogs but also the insurance companies of the facilities, Clanton said.
2,000 pigs in one building - is it any wonder that something was going to give?