Revival Pork: What’s in a name?
It’s high time for a change in the way we eat meat in this country—and not just for all the obvious reasons.
The 20th century was undoubtedly hard on the pig. For hundreds of years, deliciously fatty pigs formed the center of the world’s most important food cultures, including our own. But after World War II, America’s attention shifted from wartime thrift to economic stability. Surplus military chemicals were repurposed into amazingly effective fertilizer, and a new era of cheap grain was born. At the same time, skewed research led millions of consumers to believe that fat intake was directly related to heart disease and other ailments. By the 1970s, the standard American hog—fed a cheap diet of low-quality commodity grain made possible by chemically enhanced methods—yielded the pale, bland pork now found in supermarkets across the nation.
It’s not just the taste of pork that’s suffered. Most pigs destined for the average supermarket are kept in such close confinement that they can barely lie down. Their tails are removed to keep their claustrophobic neighbors from biting them off. If they’re fortunate enough to get grain, it’s usually the cheapest mix of commodity corn or soy available. Feed for intensively-raised hogs is often laced with hormones and antibiotics to ensure speedy, disease-free growth. According to the USDA, Pigs, unlike cattle, aren’t even required to have the ability to stand on their own at the time of slaughter for the USDA to permit their entrance to our food chain.
But happily for our tastebuds, and for our consciences, that’s beginning to change. A small number of American farmers are rediscovering ways to raise animals in a humane, ecologically sound, and sustainable fashion. Revival Farms not only seeks to help preserve heirloom breeds of pigs—and the delicious meat that comes from them—but also commits to practicing responsible animal husbandry all throughout the pig’s life.