Have you ever had Bacon, ham, or any type of pork? Have you ever thought about where that came from? Well every time you eat those foods they originated from some type of Swine (aka pig). Different pigs are raised relatively the same for the meat production but I am going to explain 1 certain type of pig called an American Yorkshire so you can really see what goes on to get you your bacon, ham, and pork. Before you ask no American Yorkshire`s not from America! American Yorkshire are a type of Swine that originated in Yorkshire England!

So this is how their lives start. Swine can have about 5 or 6 pigs in each litter. They will typically have 1 or 2 litters in a year. For the first few weeks the newborn pigs are feed their mother’s milk. If they are breed in one place but sold to someone else to be raised and produced into meat, the newborns are slowly weaned from its mother, and then sold. Through this process the earliest the pigs should be taken from their mothers is 6-8 weeks of age. If the pigs are going to live in the place they were born they are often separated from their mother and placed into a cage called a nursery (it still takes 6-8 weeks for the pigs to be weaned from their mothers). (Ascophyllum nodosum and its harvesting in Eastern Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015,

In the nursery cage, the pigs are monitored and the temperature is controlled. Once the pig starts to grow the temperature slowly will start to drop. They are fed water and a mixture of different feds that mostly contain grain, protein, and different vitamins. Once the pigs are 10-12 weeks old they are placed in a Grow-finishing room/building. (Lifecycle Production Phases. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015,)

In this building the swine may eat as little or as much as it wants until it reaches the market weight, which is typical about 250lbs-275lbs. This process usually takes between 5-8 months for the swine to reach market weight. Once it does reach the market weight, it is then sent to meat production factories or slaughterhouses. (Ascophyllum nodosum and its harvesting in Eastern Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015,)

The pigs are usually hard to get into the 18 wheeler to be transported to the slaughterhouse. It can usually take about 1-2 hours go get all the swine inside the 18wheeler. When they get inside they are usually packed tight for the travel to the slaughterhouse. After they get to the slaughterhouse, some will run out after being in such a tight space for so long, while others will have to have help to get out because they can no longer walk/run as well because they have been in the 18wheeler so long. One by one the pigs are taken in, they are stunned and sent to the kill floor. Each slaughterhouse has a different way of killing the swine, such as gases, a injection, Knife, and the most common way is an air powered gun that once the “bullet” goes inside the pig its heart stops beating. ((Visiting a Local Slaughterhouse Wasn't That Bad. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015)

Once the pig is dead it is hung, cleaned, and then sliced in half. The meat is then divided up into the different sections for each side of the pig. Then the meat is salted/cured and sent off to packaging. In the packing part the meat is preserved in an air tight container. If the meat is left too long or not properly sealed it can cause the meat to spoil. The meat is then placed in a cooled 18wheeler and shipped to grocery stores and restaurants. So know you know how bacon, pork, and ham are produced. Next time you eat those food you know that the pig sacrificed itself for you to have those yummy foods. (Visiting a Local Slaughterhouse Wasn't That Bad. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015)

Resources:

Ascophyllum nodosum and its harvesting in Eastern Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://www.fao.org/docrep/x5819e/x5819e04.htm

Lifecycle Production Phases. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/dairyphases.html

Visiting a Local Slaughterhouse Wasn't That Bad. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2015, from http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4113356

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