The WSJ article, Pork Industry, USDA Discuss Euthanizing Hogs, by Jacob Bunge and Kirk Maltais, published on April 28, 2020, completely overlooks the humanitarian crisis facing many Americans and its potential solution—utilizing agricultural products that would otherwise go to waste to feed the hungry.
As a grossly over-concentrated packing industry faces massive coronavirus closures, Bunge and Maltais float the possibility of gassing hundreds of thousands of hogs and rendering or discarding their carcasses. Maybe it’s because I grew up as the sixth generation on my family’s New Mexico ranch, which prided itself on helping to feed America, or maybe it’s because I studied meat science in college, but when I see a picture of 105,000 market-ready hogs, I see food: cuts of bacon, ham, and pork loin.
This week, unemployment numbers soared past 20% as a record 30 million workers have filed unemployment claims. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, people lined up in cars for miles to get the food they need to feed their families for the week. And in San Antonio, 10,000 families showed up to receive boxes of food—the food bank usually serves 200-400 families. Across America, it’s lines and more lines: unemployment lines, food bank lines, and (apparently) lines of hogs lining up waiting to be gassed.
As with the children’s game, there is something wrong with this picture, and it’s not hard to spot. The Administration and USDA must work together to safely open up packing facilities and get agriculture products into the hands of needy Americans.