Pig in a Poke

China is the largest producer of pork in the world. They slaughter over 600 million hogs annually and currently have a herd of over 400 million. Add those two together and you get a billion.

So it is a big deal that there have been outbreaks of African Swine Fever:


The disease has spread to neighboring countries like Vietnam and Laos. Herd culls are taking place all over Southeast Asia.

In the US we market over 100 million hogs per year and about one-fourth of that is exported. That’s a lot of food. You’d think a big agricultural disaster like losing tons of meat in a nation’s food supply would make a bigger impact. Maybe it is. After all, this is China, and we can’t be too sure about the information coming out of there.

Back in the States the only talk I see is about US producers perhaps taking advantage of the pork shortage. No one talks about all this lost energy—all this sad, preventable waste. Or about whether people will suffer because of it.

It is nice to have surpluses. You can’t have a civilization unless you over-produce basic commodities. In olden times, famine, plague, and pestilence could destroy a civilization. In today’s world a virus ravages millions of pounds of nutritionally-dense food and we get nothing more than a “market correction.”

At least I hope so. African Swine Fever makes for a great doomsday scenario. It spreads across the globe, mutates, and wipes out all of our livestock! Veganism conquers the world overnight.  I watched a lot of dystopian sci-fi flicks in the 70s: Silent Running, Rollerball, Soylent Green, Omega Man, Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, Westworld, The Andromeda Strain, etc.

Perhaps that wasn’t healthy for a growing boy.


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