SMITHFIELD FACTORY SALE, 2013
-- Shanghui Group buys Virginia company
by Mel Schorin
World's largest pork producer
for seven billion dollars, approved
by U.S. Congress once hearing
the pigs held no military secrets.
Who will squeal for the pigs -- a Muslim or a Jew?
Will concrete-and-steel crates get smaller, will hogs
get flush-toilets, less feed and hay, time outside for good
behavior? Will low-wage workers and diners be safe?
Will pigs fly first-class to China and see the ocean,
or just have their plastic-wrapped parts
cross the Pacific in frozen containers?
Will they end up in ham sandwiches or dim sum?
Will their piglets fill pans of bacon or pork fried rice?
Are the pigs innocent or guilty?
Should they be bludgeoned or hanged
for their crimes? Call witnesses!
Check DNA samples in sausages!
One company buys another, takes its workers,
sweat and blood, kidneys and leather. Who owns hearts
and spare ribs? Make footballs, cut out valves to sew
into ourselves. We're going to the same place.
Will death be easier with Americans or Chinese?
Their farmers will learn how we care for hogs,
not be seen tossing diseased carcasses into rivers
or feeding banned chemicals giving cramps and diarrhea.
Sows get revenge with trichinosis and tapeworms,
worms grow to twenty feet, cysts swell in the brain --
Cook thoroughly, wash hands, sleep safe.
Lakes of hog poop blanket the earth.
Swine flu sounds like wine, divine, benign and better
than pig flu or hog flu. Bad enough to lie in an ICU
with a tube in the throat, I'll take vaccines and side
effects, not viruses from pigs to the grave.
We should let them go, let them run their own farm,
choose their own foods and crates and methods of slaughter,
see if they can smoke their own butts, sell pretty pink chops
and ribs and gelatin candy in tasty gummy colors.
Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Hog, hungry people wait
with empty plates and barbecue sauce, banging their forks.
Don't ask the owners -- they have bristles and thick skin.