Michigan pig fracas as “test marketing”

As in test marketing of the one variety fits all, or  imposing monoculture on the entire ag sector. From David E. Gumpert on the Complete Patient blog:

“…Obviously, the state and Big Ag’s Michigan Pork Producers Association don’t like small farms raising nutrient-dense food. But why? Because these outfits want total control of the market, in particular, control of the sources of supply. Here are three ways they seek to gain control:

1. They try, in this case, to limit the specie options. In the dairy arena, they try to eliminate an entire category of food (raw milk, and products made from raw milk). Of course, it’s the species diversity and the raw milk that growing numbers of consumers truly want, and are willing to pay extra for. To anyone who says the MI Pork Producers Association is trying to limit competition, the organization will reply that, no, any farmer can produce the one or two species that are still allowed. But, of course, small farms that are limited to producing the same breeds as the big producers have no way to set themselves apart, and are forced to become part of the commodity economy. You want American Species Pork at $3 a pound or $6 a pound? If pork-is-pork-is-pork, then you’ll insist on it at $3 a pound. 

2. They want to force small pork producers to remain serfs forever, as part of the Big Ag vertically-integrated marketplace, where prices are dictated by the major processors.Small farmers who sell direct to consumers threaten the vertically integrated industry model, where farmers have no pricing say.

Harper’s Magazine had an excellent article a couple months ago about “the new monopolies” and our society’s growing tolerance of monopolistic practices, compared to 50 and 60 years ago. The author described the marketplace for chicken producers, whereby a large producer “requires the farmers to procure from the company itself all the chicks they raise and all the feed they blow into the houses….”

Read it all on The Complete Patient blog.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Michigan pig fracas as “test marketing”

  1. I, for one will never again eat pork produced by anything but a small family farm where the animals are treated kindly. I don’t care what species of pig it is. I care deeply how the animal is treated, what it is fed and HOW it is slaughtered. I, for instance, would not want to consume the pork of a pig that had seen and/or heard other pigs being slughtered. I do not want any meat I eat tainted with fear/dread. So take heart small famers. Feed whatever kind of pig you may legally raise things that you would want in your own body. Treat the animals kindly and thank them for their lives at killing time and do not allow other pigs to witness the killing or butchering. And be sure you kill them quickly wityh no pain and no fear. Do not let them even see it coming. For this kind treatment you should be paid handsomely for your products. THIS is meat I would eat happily at $6/lbs. What matters to me is reverence for the fact that these animals give their lives to sustain us and, by the God of mercy, they should be raised with room to move and socialize and be the creatures they are meant to be before they come to our dinner plates.

  2. Carol

    I will specifically comment on killing/butchering. All pigs whether from a farm with 5 or 1,025 sent for slaughter are all sent to the same type of government inspected abattoir. They are all killed the same way and it is not a pretty sight. Some people think this so called ,”food movement” is something “new” but I would say,” it is something society is trying to move back too.” You see I am from the generation that truly had small family farms. They raised and often killed their meat at their farm or small local abattoirs and sold or traded it for something they had need for. At one time a farmer only fed about 30 people but now feed hundreds. We no longer are allowed to butcher for sale ourselves because I hate to say it, as people moved further from their food source they requested more safety measures or regulation from government.
    Each year when the seal hunt is on and we see blood on the snow and actors etc protesting the slaughter, I often wonder what would happen if the doors of the slaughter houses were open for all to see, would they also be there.But for now out of sight out of mind.
    I am happy they you can afford $6.00 a pound for meat you are truly blessed but many can not and I am afraid for what ever reason whole food is becoming more expensive than many can afford and I am not sure why. I have my thoughts but for this post I will keep them to myself.

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