Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Sorry, No Carnitas. First there was the great guacamole shortage of 2014, and now, carnitas are on the chopping block at Chipotle, the great burrito mecca of the United States. After the restaurant chain discovered that one of its suppliers violated animal-welfare standards, Chipotle has stopped serving pork at a third of its locations, sending hundreds of thousands of pseudo-Mexican-food lovers into a panic. This means that some 500 to 600 Chipotle restaurants will temporarily suspend its carnitas.
Pigs Have Feelings Too
Ninety-seven percent of pigs in the United States today are raised in factory farms, where they will never run across sprawling pastures, bask in the sun, breathe fresh air, or do anything else that comes naturally to them. Crowded into warehouses with nothing to do and nowhere to go, they are kept on a steady diet of drugs to keep them alive and make them grow faster, but the drugs cause many of the animals to become crippled under their own bulk.
Pigs are actually very clean animals. If they are given sufficient space, pigs are careful not to soil the areas where they sleep or eat. And forget the silly saying “sweating like a pig”—pigs can’t even sweat! That’s why they bathe in water or mud to cool off. But in factory farms, they’re forced to live in their own feces and vomit and even amid the corpses of other pigs. Conditions are so filthy that at any given time, more than one-quarter of pigs suffer from mange—think of your worst case of poison ivy, and imagine having to suffer from it for the rest of your life.
Factory farms are pure hell for pigs and their babies. Mother pigs spend most of their lives in tiny “gestation” crates, which are so small that the animals are unable to turn around or even lie down comfortably. They are repeatedly impregnated until they are slaughtered. Piglets, who are taken away from their distraught mothers after just a few weeks, have their tails chopped off, their teeth are clipped off with pliers, and the males are castrated—all without painkillers.
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 you’re eating may make the drugs that your doctor prescribes the next time you get sick completely ineffective.
The prohibition of pork in Islam is derived from the following verse of the Glorious Qur’an:
“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah.”
Research has shown correlation between pork consumption and several diseases. Eating pork can expose the individual to various helminthes (worms) like roundworm, pinworm and hookworm. One of the most dangerous of worms is Taenia Solium, which, in lay man’s terminology is called the pork tapeworm. It harbors in the intestine and is very long. Its ova i.e. eggs, enter the blood stream and can reach almost all the organs of the body. If it enters the brain it can cause memory loss. If it enters the heart it can cause heart attack, in the eye it can cause blindness, and in the liver it can cause liver damage. It can damage almost all the organs of the body.
A common misconception about pork is that if it is cooked well, these ova die. In a research project undertaken in America, it was found that out of twenty-four people suffering from Trichura Tichurasis (another worm commonly found in pork), twenty two had cooked the pork very well. This indicates that the ova present in the pork do not die under normal cooking temperature.
Pork has very little muscle building material and contains excess of fat. This fat gets deposited in the vessels and can cause hypertension and heart attack. It is not surprising that hypertension is a common ailment due to the prevalence of the consumption of pork.
Thus the prohibition of pork in Islam is a blessing.