Pigs...Harbingers of disease and destruction

By Christine Nobiss

There are 22 million hogs and 3 million people living in Iowa. Below is a petition to the permit application of another corporate hog confinement system to be built in Clay County, IA.

Not only is hog farming having a detrimental impact on the land, air and water systems of Iowa, but historically this animal is responsible for a lot of the colonized death and destruction that occurred in the Americas.

Pigs are not native to this land. They were brought in, initially, by conquistadors who were not concerned with the destruction of local crops and the influx of disease the pigs brought. Some scholars believe that pigs are responsible for the initial massive population reduction in Mexico where they quickly spread disease. The French, who came after, have recorded their reaction to the aftermath of this genocide. However, Mexico was not the only part of the Americas hit by the diseases that swine brought with them. All of the Americas was eventually affected by the influx of these diseases.

As time went on, some tribes were forced into swine herding. They were strong armed out of their indigenous lifestyles into becoming keepers of their colonizers livestock. Franciscan monks have records detailing their approval of raising swine and it's many benefits. And, yes, some tribes did benefit from raising these animals. However, pigs were either liked or disliked by various tribes. Some embraced them and enjoyed the taste of the meat but others thought they were dirty and/or devastated by the destruction of their crops and indigenous way of life.

Not only did pigs have a substantial and serious effect on the indigenous population of the Americas, but they are still affecting our health. Currently, native Americans have the highest diabetes rate in the country. The rise in this disease is a direct correlation to the rise in obesity. Native Americans have been forced into a meat, sugar, fat and processed food diet due to restrictions on access to healthier foods. Many reservations are basically food deserts.

Though meat was rationed throughout the centuries on reservations, currently, pork has become a staple in many diets. Furthermore what we consider a traditional dish is actually a recipe that has been invented out of necessity throughout the years of colonization. Pork, pork lard and processed pork is a staple in many recipes. For instance, fry bread, which is a food created out of innovation due to limited supplies, is cooked in lard. It is not something that should be eaten often, however, it has become a staple and prized food in the Native American diet.

Not only are corporate hog confinement systems terrible for the surrounding environment but the history of this animal here is sad and disturbing. For more information on current hog farming practices, please read the following article:


And don't forget to sign the petition!

Christine Nobiss