pigs living in a cage in squalor

“Bet you’d love a bacon sandwich”

One of the clichéd comments that get thrown at vegans (and vegetarians) is the idea that we yearn to eat bacon, that euphemism for the flesh of a pig.  Even if sourced locally from one of those rare ‘free range’ pig farms, a young pig has to be slaughtered to provide that unnecessary source of nutrition known as bacon.  It’s also classified as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) by the World Health Organisation.  

Sentient Media recently published a story about an advertising campaign by the world’s biggest pig-flesh exporter, Danish Crown.   This campaign is being challenged as greenwash; a misleading, unsubstantiated and/or irrelevant statement or claim that a product, service or company has a low impact on the environment.  In this case, the advertising campaign is an attempt to overcome the growth in public concern about the links between meat consumption and climate change.

Here’s a link to the story.  Before you read it, bear in mind that most of the pigs that end up being slaughtered for food will have come from factory farms. Viva’s film Hogwood shows the kind of conditions that pigs have to suffer in British factory farms.  Also consider the fact that a significant portion of the feed for pigs and chickens in this country is soya beans grown in South America. This has been linked with deforestation of the Amazon and forest fires.  As for the greenhouse gas emissions associated with eating a pig’s flesh compared with other foods, the graph below is derived from peer-reviewed academic research. Whilst pig flesh is not the biggest per kilogram contributor to climate change, it’s around four times worse than tofu and nearly 29 times worse than nuts.

Chart of greenhouse gas emissions of food product, where beef is by far the highest
Chart showing how beef is by far the food product responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions. Source: OurWorldInData.org

Featured image: Sentient Media