08 February 2011

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Mark Bittman wants to outlaw confined livestock feeding operations because, he says, they harm the environment, torture animals and make meat less safe (“A Food Manifesto for the Future,” column, Feb. 2).

We take issue with him on all three points.

Yes, there were a couple of highly publicized manure spills involving hog farms in the mid-1990s. But pork producers have made changes to assure that they won’t be repeated. If they are, producers are subject to fines up to $37,500 per day under tough new federal regulations.

Modern livestock housing is temperature-controlled, well lighted and well ventilated. It keeps animals safe and comfortable and protects them from predators and disease. That’s why the incidence of key food-borne illnesses in this country is going down, not up.

As for “sustainable” alternatives, perhaps they can produce enough meat for the wealthy, but not for a world population that is growing and demanding more protein.

Randy Spronk
Chairman, Environment Committee
National Pork Producers Council
Edgerton, Minn., Feb. 4, 2011