Less pork means healthy Ilonggos

By Alex P. Vidal

“When I was a kid, I used to think pork chops and karate chops were the same.”

—Shane Koyczan

THE dwindling of pork supply in the province of Iloilo may not be good for business as hog farming represents an integral part of the broader industry that entails the rearing, butchering, processing, and selling of hogs, known as the pork production industry.

Many economic reports highlight how Filipino swine farmers significantly contribute to the country’s agricultural and overall economy.

Some reports highlight the pork industry value chain contributions and growth over the past years despite the entry of African swine fever (ASF) which recently alarmed Gov. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. after the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) reported that thousands of pigs valued at nearly P1 billion either died of ASF or were old at much lower prices.

But rather than totally feel bad about it, pork-consuming Ilonggos affected by ASF should see it in a positive way in another perspective.

With less pork or without consuming much pork, our health will be protected. After all health is wealth.

Among foods that inspire a cult-like following, pork often leads the pack, as evidenced by those eager to name bacon the national food for breakfast.

“Unfortunately, that popularity comes at a cost. Along with being the most commonly consumed meat in the world, pork may also be one of the most dangerous, carrying some important and under-discussed risks that any consumer should be aware of,” warned the Healthline.

It identifies the four dangers of eating pork as: Hepatitis E, multiple sclerosis, liver cancer and cirrhosis, Yersinia.


Cleveland Clinic has warned of some diseases that can be caused by too much consumption of raw meats and pork products.

One of these diseases, according to Cleveland Clinic, is Trichinellosis, more commonly known as trichinosis, a parasitic food-borne disease that is caused by eating raw or undercooked meats, particularly pork products infested with the larvae of a type of roundworm called Trichinella.

“When you eat food, your stomach acid and enzymes digest what you eat. In the case of infected meat, the acid and enzymes break down the hard outside shell (cyst) of the larvae, freeing the adult worms,” warned the Cleveland Clinic.

“The worms then produce larvae which take up residence in your body tissues, especially muscle. Anyone can get trichinosis, regardless of age or health status.”

Pork production reportedly consists of six separate stages: research and development, hog farming, meat processing, finishing and packaging, product distribution, and retail.

Another fear associated with eating pork is the fact that ham, sausage, and bacon strips “will go right to our hips,” according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or Peta.

“Eating pork products, which are loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat, is a good way to increase your waistline and increase your chances of developing deadly diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, asthma, and impotence,” Peta warned.

Research has reportedly shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters. Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than pure vegetarians are.


Peta also warned of Bacteria-Laden Bacon and Harmful Ham

Extremely crowded conditions, poor ventilation, and filth in factory farms cause such rampant disease in pigs that 70 percent of them have pneumonia by the time they’re sent to the slaughterhouse.

In order to keep pigs alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them and to promote unnaturally fast growth, the industry keeps pigs on a steady diet of the antibiotics that we depend on to treat human illnesses. This overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of “superbacteria,” or antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.

The ham, bacon, and sausage that w’re eating may reportedly make the drugs that our doctor prescribes the next time we get sick completely ineffective.

Also, Peta said more than 170,000 pigs die in transport each year, and more than 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse.

“Transport trucks, which carry pigs hundreds of miles through all weather extremes with no food or water, regularly flip over, throwing injured and dying animals onto the road,” Peta added.

“These terrified and injured animals are rarely offered veterinary care, and most languish in pain for hours; some even bleed to death on the side of the road.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)