Three years ago seasoned campaigner and mother of three children, Tracy Worcester, decided to find out what was in the cheap processed pork products for sale in Britain’s supermarkets.
Her journey led her to America and Poland where she found huge, industrial scale, pig farms which supply British supermarkets.
The film reveals that that these huge meat factories overcrowd and mistreat the animals, put small farmers out of business and pollute the water and air endangering the health of local residents.
The owner of 20 of these giant pig factories in Poland is an American company called Smithfield Foods, the biggest hog producer and processor in the world, whose production methods have been heavily criticized not least by lawyer, Robert Kennedy Jnr,, president of the Waterkeepers Alliance,who has won numerous court cases against Smithfield Foods for violating pollution laws.
Attending a government committee he explains how the arrival of factory farms will destroy Polish rural culture and livelihoods, “Smithfield controls 85% of hog production in the state, and every factory that is built gets rid of 10 traditional family farmers and replaces those jobs with 2 or 3 minimum waged jobs to workers who work in the plants.
European subsides are given to the giants in the name of helping Poland become more competitive within the EU. Tom Garrett, from Animal Welfare Institute in America, says that Smithfield Foods of America, the largest pork producer in the world with an $11 billion annual turnover, came to Poland funded by taxpayers’ money and “benefited from a $100 million loan facilitated by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).”
A Polish small-scale farmer, Alicia, complains that the giants out- compete her traditional farming methods, as they give their animals antibiotics and hormones to grow faster and collect huge cheques from the European Union subsidy system.
Former workers admit that because of overcrowding they have to pump the animals with antibiotics. Richard Young, policy adviser to the Soil Association, says that the antibiotic residues in pork are making consumers resistant to antibiotic treatment and creating new forms of super-bug like the pig strain of MRSA that has recently passed to humans
A local Polish doctor confirms that the employees and neighbors are poisoned by the stench due to the vast quantity of effluent which putrefies in slurry lagoons before being sprayed onto neighbouring fields. “The microclimate, a cocktail of 400 gasses inside the shed, restrict the airways”
Bernard Lietar, former investment banker, sees banks as the driving force behind the present day development pattern, “I would compare the money system, as a ring that we put through our nose, and it leads us where it wants to go”.
With democracy in question, Tracy decides that it is up to consumers to choose whether to buy ‘cheap’ Polish pork in the supermarkets or reconnect with a farmer you trust. She and her family visit the local farmers market, local independent pig farmers, and community supported agricultural initiatives that provide viable alternatives to cheaply sourced supermarket products.
For more information, see http://www.pigbusiness.co.uk/