What do you think the purpose of agriculture is ? To feed people, right ? Wrong ! The purpose of agriculture is to feed pigs. Very shortly more than half the crops grown in the world will be used to feed pigs. This was the astounding revelation I read in The Economist here.
The problem is China. The staple diet of the Chinese is not rice or wheat – it is pork. Pork is eaten in astounding quantities, every day, every meal. In India, governments fall over the price of onions, in China they will fall over the price of pork. So much so that the Consumer Price Index is jokingly referred to as the Consumer Pork Index !
The Economist article throws out mind boggling implications of this Chinese fixation with eating a pig. The Amazon rainforest is being cleared in Brazil to grow soya to feed Chinese pigs. The Chinese are buying up land all over Africa and Latin America, not to feed their people , but to feed their pigs. One of the biggest source of water and soil pollution in China is pig waste. One fifth of the emissions produced in the world is from livestock and the biggest contributors to this are American cows and Chinese pigs, through their flatulence of all things. Pig farming has become so intense in China that they are like factories – pigs are born and live all their life in metal pens, they never see sunlight, they are all artificially bred, they are given antibiotics with every feed , they are fattened beyond their natural size and they are killed as soon as they become big. Because of the routine dosing of antibiotics, they are also one of the sources for the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
The Chinese government is so obsessed with pork prices that it appears to be having a “pig bank” to stabilize pork prices. This comprises both of pork and live animals. Presumably the live animals form the porcine wing of the Communist Party. They also have to subsidise pork production – by an astounding $22bn in 2012 , it appears.
There is little chance of turning the Chinese into vegetarians. They don’t even have a word for vegetarianism in Mandarin – this blogger knows to his cost !! Their gobbling up of pigs is only bound to increase. Hollywood should forget about movies such as The Zombie Apocalypse. Instead, they should try The Porcine Apocalypse !!