There is a battle going on between animal protection advocates and the pork industry over "gestation crates," the 2-foot by 7-foot cages that confine about 80 percent of the United States' breeding pigs.
If you haven't heard of the drug ractopamine before, you're probably not alone. But if you've eaten intensively reared pork, beef or turkey, then you will almost certainly have consumed meat from an animal that's been fed the drug -- and probably eaten ractopamine yourself.
What would the world's reaction be if the New York Times' lead story tomorrow were "Chickens Understand That Their Throats are About to Be Slit" or "Horrific Confinement and Deprivation Feels Same to Pigs as It Does to Humans"?
Our pigs arrived two days ago, and never did anything cuter grace a cloven hoof. They're about 25 pounds each now, and we're going to get them to about 240. Then we are going to kill them and eat them.
According to René Girard, in periods of collective crisis the phenomenon of scapegoating flourishes. Today, the notorious "PIGS" (Portugal, Ireland or Italy, Greece, Spain), have become those animalized, "criminal" scapegoats.