by Sebastian Jannelli
March 18, 2011
Tracy Worcester, Marchioness of Worcester and future Duchess of Beaufort, is not your typical English noblewoman. She is an impassioned environmental activist to the core, and she is definitely not afraid to get her hands dirty.
Her new documentary, Pig Business, details Worcesters four-year crusade against Smithfield Foods, Inc., the worlds largest pork producer and processor.
In the film, the marchioness scales factory farm fences, goes toe-to-toe with Smithfield executives, and ultimately exposes the pork industrys devastating impacts on the environment from festering fecal lagoons that contaminate rivers and streams, to greenhouse gas emissions that rival the entire transport industry.
I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. screening of Pig Business on Capitol Hill last week and meet the incomparable Tracy Worcester, who also directed and produced the film.
I came here to demonstrate that though pork might be cheap at the supermarket till, it is not really cheap at all, said the marchioness.
If intensive farming operations were made to pay the true costs by the introduction and implementation of laws that adequately protected human health, livestock, and the environment, and if these corporations werent given subsidies, tax breaks, or preferential loans, traditional farmers, who bear the true costs of their production, would out-compete them in the marketplace.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) sponsored the event and, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose work against large-scale pork producers was also featured in the film, co-hosted with the Marchioness of Worcester.
We have a first amendment in the constitution and yet we have 11 states that have laws that make it illegal to criticize factory farming food, said Kennedy.
Why? Because what theyre doing is so illegal and its directly bad for public health, for the economy, for rural communities, that if the public knew about it theyd shut it down. So they have to keep it quiet and corrupt the politicians and capture the agencies to allow this atrocity to continue.
Sebastian Jannelli is the writer and editor-in-chief of the Greenpeace magazine.