How pig parts make the world turn

Christien Meindertsma, author of “Pig 05049” looks at the astonishing afterlife of the ordinary pig, parts of which make their way into at least 187 non-pork products, from bullets to artificial hearts.

We seep pigs all the time on the highways. Of course, we live near Iowa.


  1. #1 momkat
    September 22, 2010

    We seep pigs all the time on the highways

    How long does it take a pig to seep all the way through to the water table? 🙂

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2010

    Don’t laugh, I’m sure that happens! Chickens, too.

  3. #3 stripey_cat
    September 22, 2010

    ^^Pigshit (or any other species) can foul ground water surprisingly easily if there’s a problem with waste disposal at one of the big, modern factory farms.

  4. #4 Art
    September 22, 2010

    Seeping pigs? Corking them prevents seepage, increases weight, and provides a big surprise at the slaughterhouse. Always good for a laugh.

  5. #5 omar
    September 22, 2010

    Hmmm, you know some Muslims and Jews have a fetish about avoiding any contact with pigs, so what do they use in Kosher toothpaste and kosher glue and soap and so on? Is there a well differentiated stream of beef gelatin or halal gelatin (and other pig part alternatives) that they get to use?

  6. #6 MadScientist
    September 22, 2010

    Can I just point out that Bambi is not a pig? I’ll just attribute that to a blonde moment (ouch! ouch! ouch! – my blonde girlfriend is punching me now – and telling her the other blonde is very cute doesn’t seem to be helping me either.)

    @omar: there are plant derived gelatines – you don’t have to use animal goo. I have no idea if there is any toothpaste etc. manufactured from plant gelatines though.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2010

    Bambi was not shown as a pig. You need to go back and rewatch the whole video but pay closer attention.

  8. #8 John
    September 22, 2010

    Did anybody get the part about bullets? I missed whatever it was that pigs contribute.

  9. #9 TheBrummell
    September 23, 2010

    She didn’t finish the bullets story, sadly. I hope it’s in the book, I am curious as well.

    I noticed that many of the products included one specific pig part, gelatin. Rather useful stuff, it seems. The part about pig-hair in bread flour was pretty interesting, too.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    September 23, 2010

    I loved the video, but I have to say, having worked on major pig-related research project, nothing was a surprise to me. (And she only touched on the ways in which pigs infiltrate everything!). Gelatin is used in the process of loading powder into the shells.

    A different use may be ordnance gelatin, which is what you shoot at when conducting experiments with bullets. I’m not sure if she meant that, though.

  11. #11 Ciwan Kurd
    September 24, 2010

    I loved it.

    Thank You.

  12. #12 khan
    September 25, 2010

    A vague memory: wasn’t the Cawnpore Mutiny partly related to the use of pig (or cow) parts in munitions?