- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2000

Pity the poor pig. He is once again under attack in the Deep South, where they probably eat more ham than any place else in the country. The easily upset environmentalists are mounting a legal effort to force the hog producers to stop fouling the air and polluting the streams. There are already lawsuits against Smithfield Foods Inc. in North Carolina. If these are the people who give us Smithfield Hams, then my vote goes to the pig. Environmentalists are a dime a dozen, but a good ham is hard to come by.

What is astounding here is that 15 law firms with experience against tobacco companies are handling the litigation and kicking in $50,000 each to pay for this, we are led to believe, public service. I think the key word here is tobacco. We all know how much the lawyers raked in with that public service. If we are to continue to enjoy other meats at reasonable prices, we have to hope that the hog farms come out on top in this contest. The EPA is deep enough into our pockets as it is. If the farmers lose, the next election may see the Democrats buying votes with bacon instead of cigarettes.

Do you suppose when the government drafted the Clean Air Act they had hog farms in mind? I don't know how you can raise a hog that smells good. If the environmental zealots have their way, we will have sewage treatment plants just for pigs. Once this occurs, the cattle farmer on the Great Plains should take heed, or the price of filet mignon will also climb out of sight. The pork industry is already spending millions to find answers to the environmental problem. Now that money will probably have to go toward hiring some of those expert public service individuals.

The EPA is coming out with new regulations for pork producers. Make no mistake, regulations are laws in disguise. No congressman or senator from a Southern state is going to have his name on a bill that pushes the price of mouth-watering ribs up to the level of a lobster tail. The EPA, on the other hand, is free to inflict all kinds of price-gouging regulations on the public under the guise of protecting the environment. Can you think of one thing we are missing out on because of pig farming?

When lawyers band together and put up money to sue a business, are they doing so to make a profit? It certainly would seem that way. Are they doing it because they are running out of clients who bring lawsuits against corporations? Or have they decided there is no reason to split settlements with clients when they can keep it all in the firm? Whatever the reason, it looks like there is some kind of conflict of interest here.

Perhaps we should look at what they are doing in the Netherlands. Hogs are being raised in a high rise. That's right, floor after floor of hogs penned up and fattened up for the market. The very thought of that makes my eyes water. Of course they don't have an EPA, but they are being attacked by the animal rights groups instead. We need a People Protection Agency to defend us against all of these "need to get a life" groups that are interfering with our quality of life.

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