Addicted to novelty since 2001

The Other White Meat

For minor health and ethical reasons, I don’t eat red meat–I only eat chicken and fish. In the latter case, I try to eat free-range chicken and non-farmed fish. Regardless, when I’m explaining my culinary choices to people, this conversation inevitably occurs:

ME: I don’t eat red meat.
THEM: You’ll have some pork then?
ME: No, I don’t eat pork, only chicken and fish.
THEM: But pork’s the other white meat.
ME: That’s just marketing.

This is a classic example of marketing-speak insinuating itself into our culture so that it becomes a pseudo-fact. “The other white meat” was part of a very successful $54 million marketing program that started in 1986. Don’t believe me? Go visit (and I kid you not), brought ot you by the NPB. That’s the National Pork Board for the acronym-challenged.

I’m not some kind of vegan terrorist or anything. I’d like people to eat ethically, but that’s not my point. My point is is that people seemed to have embraced this largely-false notion that suggest that pigs have more in common with chickens than they do with cows. Clearly, on the great food chain of life, the cow and pig and siblings, while the chicken is a distant cousin. The NPB deserves real credit, because they really seem to have modified consumers’ beliefs with regards to their product–a tall order.

I note that the Pork site has a gallery of over a hundred images of pork. That’s a lot of pork pics.

That pork site is kind of an adult companion piece to that favourite of teen beef sites, brought to us by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Man, you could cut the sexual double-entendres in this post with a knife, couldn’t you?

7 Responses to “The Other White Meat”

  1. John Keyes

    Do you also choose your fish ethically? I do my best to eat ethically but it seems that fish don’t make it onto this graph. Due to the rapid decline of cod and tuna stocks, I made a choice not to stop eating both species.

    There is some good information on organic fish farming on this site:

    It is a rapidly improving sector and hopefully they will resolve more of the problems this industry still faces. I like this piece especially:
    “I realized that I had been guilty of rejecting all fish farming based on problems with the industrial model. We don’t reject the possibilities for organic agriculture because we are against factory farming of chickens or pigs – in fact, we use the organic model to demonstrate there are better ways.”

    Organic food products are enjoying massive growth in Ireland. The Organic section in my supermarket has grown 200% in a year (from 1 aisle section to 3) and there are many meat products now also available. All I need now is more Fair Trade organic products.

  2. Pfister

    Dude, have you ever been to a commercial chicken farm? It’s a horrid fucking place. My god, the stench is gut boiling. And the filth and squalor! If you’re skipping beef for chicken because of ‘ethical’ reasons, you have a seriously wacked set of ethics.

  3. donna

    I prefer my food to be tortured before I eat it. This is why, even with vegetables, I make sure I stab ’em with a fork before eating it.

  4. Imo

    Darren -who cares about beef, chicken, duck and pork?? those are all farmed animals (and kinda stupid ones at that) what you should worry about eating is the Patagonian Toothfish -it’s becoming extinct. NO seabass!

  5. Darren

    Hmmm…the point wasn’t so much the ethics of eating pork, but the ethics of marketing pork. I should’ve skipped the whole discussion of ethics and gone right for the marketing message. My bad.

  6. Sue

    See, and MY ethics guide me to eat as much Canadian beef as I can so we can support ranchers in Alberta (never mind that it tastes fantabulous). So.. ethics are a wacked-out way of deciding what food to eat. Boycotting on the basis of indignant resistance to marketing messages, however, is somewhat amusing.

  7. donna

    I’m in the middle of reading fast food nation.

    Due to the fact that I’m nearly done the section on the beef industry, I am currently eating my last hamburger. Ever. Good god, this is GROSS!

    But tastes OH so good. *sob*

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