The Swine Is Unclean Unto You
The tissues of the swine swarm with parasites. Of the swine God said, “It is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.” Deuteronomy 14:8.This command was given because swine’s flesh is unfit for food. Swine are scavengers, and this is the only use they were intended to serve.Never, under any circumstances, was their flesh to be eaten by human beings. It is impossible for the flesh of any living creature to be wholesome when filth is its natural element and when it feeds upon every detestable thing.CCh 229.8
Pork, although one of the most common articles of diet, is one of the most injurious. God did not prohibit the Hebrews from eating swine’s flesh merely to show His authority, but because it was not a proper article of food for man. It would fill the system with scrofula, and especially in that warm climate produced leprosy, and disease of various kinds. Its influence upon the system in that climate was far more injurious than in a colder climate….Swine’s flesh would not be palatable to the taste in its natural state. It is made agreeable to the appetite by high seasoning, which makes a very bad thing worse. Swine’s flesh above all other flesh meats, produces a bad state of the blood. Those who eat freely of pork can but be diseased CCh 230.1
Especially would the fine, sensitive nerves of the brain become enfeebled and so beclouded that sacred things would not be discerned, but be placed upon the low level with common things.CCh 230.2
Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, making up about 38 percent of meat production worldwide. It’s especially popular in East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, South America, and Oceania.
If you’re at all familiar with the Bible, you probably remember that in it God specifically instructed His people not to eat pork and shellfish. Many people are surprised to find this out, but in the Old Testament God warned us that the pig was an unclean animal. Why? Because the pig is a scavenger and not meant for human consumption. (Check out Leviticus 11.)
Eating pork products, which are loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat, is a good way to increase your waistline and increase your chances of developing deadly diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, asthma, and impotence. Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters. Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than pure vegetarians are.
Extremely crowded conditions, poor ventilation, and filth in factory farms cause such rampant disease in pigs that 70 percent of them have pneumonia by the time they’re sent to the slaughterhouse. In order to keep pigs alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them and to promote unnaturally fast growth, the industry keeps pigs on a steady diet of the antibiotics that we depend on to treat human illnesses. This overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of “superbacteria,” or antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. The ham, bacon, and sausage that you’re eating may make the drugs that your doctor prescribes the next time you get sick completely ineffective.
No matter how you think about it, pigs are rather dirty animals. They’re considered the garbage and waste eliminators of the farm, often eating literally anything they can find. This includes not only bugs, insects and whatever leftover scraps they find laying around, but also their own feces, as well as the dead carcasses of sick animals, including their own young. At least one farmer has gone out to feed his pigs and never returned. On that morning in 2012, he literally became the pig’s breakfast.
Just knowing what a pig’s diet is like can explain why the meat of the pig can be so dirty or at the very least not so appetizing to consume. And while being ‘”grossed out” may or may not be a valid reason not to eat something, it’s vital to understand a bit more about pork before reaching your own conclusion. Let’s talk about this popular yet seriously questionable protein source.
The Pig’s Problematic Digestive System
There are reasons that the meat of the pig becomes more saturated with toxins than many of its counterpart farm animals. The first reason has to do with the digestive system of a pig. A pig digests whatever it eats rather quickly, in up to about four hours. On the other hand, a cow takes a good 24 hours to digest what it’s eaten. During the digestive process, animals (including humans) get rid of excess toxins as well as other components of the food eaten that could be dangerous to health. Since the pig’s digestive system operates rather basically, many of these toxins remain in its system to be stored in its more than adequate fatty tissues ready for our consumption.
Another issue with the pig is that it has very few functional sweat glands and can barely sweat at all. Sweat glands are a tool the body uses to be rid of toxins. This leaves more toxins in the pig’s body. When you consume pork meat, you too get all these toxins that weren’t eliminated from the pig. None of us needs more toxins in our systems. In fact, we should all do what we can to eliminate and cut down on toxin exposure. One vital way to do this is by choosing what you eat carefully, and for me, that definitely includes completely avoiding pork products of any kind.
Increased Cancer Risk from Bacon and Other Processed Pork
According to the World Health Organization, processed meat like ham, bacon and sausage causes cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer actually classifies processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer. Researchers found that consuming 50 grams of processed meat each day raises your risk of colorectal cancer by a very significant 18 percent.
Processed meat is considered to be food items like ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and some deli meats. Noticing a theme there? Those are mainly pork-derived food products. How much processed meat is 50 grams? That’s about four strips of bacon. Maybe you’re thinking that you only eat two pieces of bacon regularly. According to this research, that would likely equate to a 9 percent increase of cancer likelihood.
Swine Flu in Humans
The swine flu is another virus that has made the leap from pig to human. Influenza or flu viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to humans, from humans to pigs and from humans to humans. (5) Human infection with flu viruses from pigs are most likely when humans are physically close to infected pigs.
Swine influenza virus infections in humans are now being called “variant virus infections in humans.” I wonder why the authorities removed the word “swine.” Was it scaring people away from eating pork? Probably.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, H1N1 and H3N2 are swine flu viruses that are “endemic among pig populations in the United States and something that the industry deals with routinely.” Outbreaks can occur year-round. H1N1 has been observed in pig populations since at least 1930, while H3N2 began in the United States around 1998. (6)
According to the CDC, swine flu has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork. Properly prepared means cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degreesF, which is supposed to kill all viruses and other foodborne pathogens. But what if you consume pork from a pig that had influenza and it wasn’t cooked to that temperature guideline — then what? I certainly wouldn’t want to roll the dice and find out.
Did you know that pigs carry a variety of parasites in their bodies and meat? Some of these parasites are difficult to kill even when cooking. This is the reason there are so many warnings out there about eating undercooked pork. One of the biggest concerns with eating pork meat is trichinosis or trichinellosis. This is an infection that humans get from eating undercooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinellaworm. In some countries and cultures, they actually consume pork raw.
This worm parasite is very commonly found in pork. When the worm, most often living in cysts in the stomach, opens through stomach acids, its larvae are released into the body of the pig. These new worms make their homes in the muscles of the pig. Next stop? The unknowing human body that consumes this infected meat flesh.
Similarly to what these worms do to the pig, they can also do to humans. If you eat undercooked or raw pork that contains the parasite, then you are also swallowing trichinellalarvae encased in a cyst. Your digestive juices dissolve the cyst, but that only unleashes the parasite into your insides. The larvae then penetrate your small intestine, where they mature into adult worms and mate. If you’re at this stage of trichinosis, you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Approximately a week after eating the infected pork, the adult female worms now inside your body produce larvae that enter your bloodstream and eventually burrow into muscle or other tissue. Once this tissue invasion occurs, symptoms of trichinosis include:
- High fever
- General weakness
- Muscle pain and tenderness
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Sensitivity to light
- Swelling of the eyelids or face
And while no one particularly wants to consume worms, trichinosis is a serious illness that you should do virtually anything to avoid. Abdominal symptoms can occur one to two days after infection while additional symptoms usually start two to eight weeks after infection. According to Mayo Clinic, the severity of symptoms typically depends on the number of larvae consumed in the infected meat.
The CDC recommends thorough cooking of pork as well as freezing the pork meat prior to cooking to kill off any worms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel good about eating anything that I first have to kill off its worms to eat.
It’s actually been theorized that trichinellosis is the exact cause of Mozart’s rather sudden death at age 35. An American researcher theorized this after studying all the documents recording the days before, during and after Mozart’s death. This research published in Archives of Internal Medicine’s June 2001 issue found that Mozart suffered many of the above listed symptoms and he, himself, had recorded in his journal the consumption of pork just 44 days before his own death.
Pigs Harbor Common Viruses and Parasites
Pigs carry many viruses and parasites with them. Whether by coming in direct contact with them through farms or by eating their meat, we put ourselves at higher risk of getting one of these painful, often debilitating diseases (not to mention put our bodies on toxic overload).
Pigs are primary carriers of:
- Taenia solium tapeworm
- Hepatitis E virus (HEV) — In developed countries, sporadic cases of HEV genotype 3 have occurred in humans after eating uncooked or undercooked pork.
- Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, aka blue-ear pig disease
- Nipah virus
- Menangle virus
- Viruses in the family Paramyxoviridae
- Each of these parasites and viruses can lead to serious health problems that can last for years to come.
- Drug Resistant Bacteria in Pork Chops and Ground Pork
It’s estimated that 70 percent of factory-farmed pigs have pneumonia when they go to the slaughterhouse. Unsightly factory-farm conditions of filth and extreme overcrowding lead pigs to have an extreme likelihood for serious diseases. The conditions are so bad that the only way to keep these pigs barely alive at times is to misuse and overuse antibiotics. I’ve talked a lot about what this does in humans. Similarly to humans, pigs are more commonly developing diseases that are resistant to antibiotics. You might like the taste of pork, but do you want to consume a pork product from a pig that had a “superbacteria”?
The bacteria-laden pork story continues. A 2013 Consumer Reports analysis of U.S. pork chops and ground pork samples found widespread (69 percent) presence of a bacteria called yersinia enterocolitica. This bacterium infects about 100,000 Americans a year, especially children, and can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain in humans.
God has furnished man with abundant means for the gratification of an unperverted appetite. He has spread before him the products of the earth,—a bountiful variety of food that is palatable to the taste and nutritious to the system. Of these our benevolent heavenly Father says we may freely eat. Fruits, grains, and vegetables, prepared in a simple way, free from spice and grease of all kinds, make, with milk or cream, the most healthful diet. They impart nourishment to the body, and give a power of endurance and a vigor of intellect that are not produced by a stimulating diet. CTBH 47.1
Those who use flesh-meats freely, do not always have an unclouded brain and an active intellect, because the use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness of body, and to benumb the finer sensibilities of the mind. The liability to disease is increased by flesh-eating. We do not hesitate to say that meat is not essential to the maintenance of health and strength. CTBH 47.2
Those who subsist largely upon meat, cannot avoid sometimes eating flesh which is more or less diseased.In many cases the process of fitting animals for market produces an unhealthy condition. Shut away from light and pure air, inhaling the atmosphere of filthy stables, the entire body soon becomes contaminated with foul matter; and when such flesh is received into the human body, it corrupts the blood, and disease is produced. If the person already has impure blood, this unhealthful condition will be greatly aggravated. But few can be made to believe that it is the meat they have eaten which has poisoned their blood and caused their suffering. Many die of diseases wholly due to meat-eating, when the real cause is scarcely suspected by themselves or others. Some do not immediately feel its effects, but this is no evidence that it does not hurt them. It may be doing its work surely upon the system, yet for the time being the victim may realize nothing of it. CTBH 47.3
Pork, although one of the most common articles of diet, is one of the most injurious. God did not prohibit the Hebrews from eating swine’s flesh merely to show his authority, but because it is not a proper article of food for man. God never created the swine to be eaten under any circumstances. It is impossible for the flesh of any living creature to be healthful when filth is its natural element, and when it feeds upon every detestable thing. CTBH 48.1
It is not the chief end of man to gratify his appetite. There are physical wants to be supplied; but because of this is it necessary that man shall be controlled by appetite?Will the people who are seeking to become holy, pure, refined, that they may be introduced into the society of heavenly angels, continue to take the life of God’s creatures, and enjoy their flesh as a luxury? From what the Lord has shown me, this order of things will be changed, and God’s peculiar people will exercise temperance in all things. CTBH 48.2
Ellen G White – Counsels For The Church Pg. 229-230
Christian Temperance And Bible Hygiene Pg. 47-48