Enviropig™ — The Other Other White Meat
Developed at the University of Guelph, the Enviropig™ is engineered to have the same meat quality as a Yorkshire pig, with all the ideal protein and fat content, but with one major twist – it is also engineered to produce less toxic manure that releases fewer pollutants into the atmosphere, purportedly making it a more environmentally sustainable option for large scale pig farmers. The Enviropig is currently under the scrutiny of the FDA.
Factory scale meat production makes a significant negative impact on the surronding environment. The huge amount of waste produced by a huge number of livestock adds up to huge amounts of methane and other pollutants that are released into the environment. The Enviropig was created by using a strain of E. coli bacteria and mouse genes to add an enzyme to pig saliva called phytase — which breaks down phytates, the major component of pig waste that gathers in the environment and causes ecological changes downstream, such as algae blooms and pH changes in the soil.
Although Enviropig sounds like a good thing for the environment, pigs are not the real polluters here, the hog farmers are. Is the tail wagging the pig here? Why change the genetics of the pig to fit the hog farm model, why isn’t the hog farm model adapting to more sustainable ways to raise livestock? And, frankly, no one has ever eaten an Enviropig, despite the fact they’be been breeding them for ten years. Wouldn’t it be a shame that after all this it is discovered that they simply don’t taste good, as don’t most factory farmed pigs?