Vegan Men Say What? Is Everything Better with Porcine Plasma?
I wish I had a nickel for each time I have heard someone say “everything is better with bacon.” Men especially seem to like their bacon. But they have it all wrong. It seems they should be saying “everything is better with porcine plasma.”
Porcine plasma? That was my first reaction too. I’ve mentioned porcine plasma to several friends and family members and none had ever heard of it. Neither had I until I was reading the Wall Street Journal about two months ago and came across an article about how millions of young pigs have died in the U.S. in the past year due to a diarrhea virus. Of course, the focus of the story was about how this will increase the price of pork for consumers.
But the article also noted that “some researchers say that porcine plasma could be spreading the virus from adult pigs.” I thought to myself, what the heck is porcine plasma? So I decided to research porcine plasma and write this article.
Porcine plasma is an ingredient that has been a mainstay of piglet diets in the U.S. for the past 30 years. Piglets are supposed to get their nutrition from their mothers. But with factory farming it is more profitable to take the piglets from their mothers and feed them grain instead of their mother’s milk. The piglets get fatter more quickly and therefore can be slaughtered more quickly. The mothers can be impregnated again without the need to worry about them feeding their babies. This translates into more profits.
However, the problem is that piglets are susceptible to disease when they don’t have the nutrition from their mother’s milk. No worries, porcine plasma solves that problem. Hog farms found that porcine plasma provides antibodies to protect young pigs from disease. But I still haven’t answered the question, what is porcine plasma?
As you might imagine, when pigs are slaughtered there is a lot of blood. This blood is collected in troughs and then stored in chilled vats. The plasma is then separated from the blood cells. The plasma is made into a powder and then this powder is added to the grain that is fed to piglets. That is porcine plasma. It is the powdered blood of slaughtered pigs and it is fed to piglets.
Let that sink in for a few moments. Baby pigs are eating the blood of adult slaughtered pigs. Perhaps the blood of an uncle or aunt.
You might think I am making this up. But if you have any doubt then simply Google “North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Protein Producers.” It goes by NASDBPP for short. That’s right, there is a trade organization for porcine plasma producers. There are five producers in the U.S.—three in Iowa, one in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. It is big business. The mission statement of the NASDBPP states it is “committed to producing safe, high-quality blood products for use in feeds for commercial livestock and companion animals.” Companion animals? Of course. If porcine plasma is good enough for your breakfast bacon it certainly is good enough to feed to your dog or cat.
But don’t worry. Because blood products can carry mad cow disease, the FDA has banned the use of cow blood for feed. But pig and horse blood is okay. And by the way, it is not only fed to piglets, but also is put in feed for cattle and chickens. That means that the calf that later became your hamburger and the baby chick that later became a nugget probably also ate porcine plasma.
So what is porcine plasma? It is a by-product of slaughterhouse waste. It is powdered blood that is collected from slaughtered animals. It is fed to the animals that you eat.
What do vegan men say? We say that you are what you eat. If you eat pork or beef or chicken, you are very likely eating porcine plasma. So next time just order a PPLT sandwich – porcine plasma, lettuce and tomato. Yum.
Doug Meier is an attorney that practices in Colorado and writes regularly for VegansEatWhat.com.
Doug Meier is an attorney who practices in Colorado the area of insurance bad faith and legal malpractice. He became a vegetarian 13 years ago and went vegan approximately 2 years ago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com