Swine of the Times

the making of the modern pig

by Nathanael Johnson

swine of the times

This article is a look at the commodification of pigs through industrialized agriculture. It is © Nathanael Johnson, used with permission.

“Swine of the Times – the making of the modern pig” was originally published in Harpers Magazine, May 2006, and is available from Porkopolis.org as an 108 KB PDF download:

Swine of the Times
[only available from Porkopolis.org as a PDF download]

Nathanael Johnson discusses and provides examples of how the nation’s biggest hog farming companies are turning the pork industry into the chicken industry.

He details mass production methods, lack of respect for the animals, and how the quest for uniformity in product and breeding results in animals cannot survive in the wild or even in a free-range setting.

Johnson also delves into Artificial Insemination and many other current the genetic manipulation methods used by those in the livestock industry who are focused on raising a more lean and uniform pork product at a lower production cost.

Also discusses the current work by scientists and a small, dedicated group pig breeders to raise a less lean, more richly flavored pork. Johnson details pork options that will allow you to enjoy pork from naturally raised pigs from sources like Heritage Foods USA, Niman Ranch and Dines Farms.


About the Author

Nathanael Johnson is a freelance journalist, editor and college instructor who lives in San Francisco.

Johnson often writes about the troubled intersection of man and nature (or more accurately: the trouble that arises from acting like there is a separation in the first place). He has written about pigs, super-powered beverages, food and environmental concerns and the improbable life of Theresa Sparks.

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