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Eating a Pig With a Wooden Leg

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A BBC reporter visits an Illinois farm for an article about Midwest agriculture and spies a pig with a wooden leg.

"Is there a story connected to that pig?" asks the reporter.

"Oh, that animal. He is amazing," says the farmer. "When we had a barn fire, he opened the doors and saved the animals. When we had a tornado, he lifted up the debris and saved my own daughter. When we had a flood he swam into the house and saved my son. When I was in a tractor accident he went and got help and saved me."

"That is amazing," agrees the reporter. "But what about his wooden leg?

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"Well, a pig like that, you don't eat all at once," says the farmer.

Meat is as good for you and necessary to the diet as cigarettes.

Yet despite Michigan's Meatout day last year and UK's red meat caution today, despite the conversion of holdouts like Bill Clinton and Oprah (or at least her staff) and the vaulting of Kathy Freston's Veganist up the New York Times bestseller list, people are still eating, well, around the wooden leg.

Before Freston's book, Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin camped out on The New York Times bestseller list, immortalized by reported endorsements from Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) and Lindsay Lohan.

You can't "eat cheeseburgers all day long and lose weight," said the hottie authors who come from the modeling world. "No wonder you're fat and bloated!"

In addition to meat which, "no matter how you slice it, it's still a putrefying corpse," authors Freedman and Barnouin warned readers about dairy products which include prolactin, somatostatin, melatonin, oxytocin, growth hormone, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and 14 other unwanted hormones (in addition to fat, calories, cholesterol and antibiotics) they said.

Their book's release coincided with the debut of vegansexuals - a group of mostly young, attractive vegans who refused sexual contact with meat eaters. "I would not want to be intimate with somebody whose body is literally made up from the bodies of others who have died for their sustenance," said one on Stuff.co.nz.

Of course like cigarettes, meat amounts to an oral requisition, an actual plea, for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, impotence and cancer of the everything (colon, breast and renal cell cancer for starters.)

But unlike cigarettes, meat also derives from cruelty that most people don't want to watch - because an animal will fight slaughter and struggle to live until its last breath, just like us.

That's why footage from slaughterhouses turns so many stomachs and diets. (And probably why the government has to import Somalis and Palauans under special arrangements to work on killing floors. Even convicts furloughed from prison quit and prefer to stay locked in their cells, say published reports.)

In its latest video, Farm to Fridge, Chicago-based Mercy For Animals shows farm animals' journey to the dinner table that most don't want to see. It's not easy to watch but it's easier than being the animals in the video.

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

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