When Pigs Start Exploding, It's Time to Rethink Our Food System

From meat eating versus veganism, to high-tech megafarms versus lucrative backyard agriculture, there is much disagreement in the green movement over what our food system should look like.

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?

When Pigs Start Exploding, It's Time to Rethink Our Food System
Hog farmers in Minnesota are struggling with exploding barns. But this is a symptom of a bigger problem.

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