Death To Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is the cause of the swine flu plague. Simple as that. But who is this factory-farming death hole? Finding out is an interesting study in corporate green-washing, corporate propaganda, and the difference between that propaganda and the truth. So look deeply, and remember this pattern, and never again fail to spot it.
First, let me state my own personal belief: The owners of Smithfield Foods should go before a firing squad. They truly deserve to experience the hand of justice. They deserve it on behalf of all the animals who have suffered and died at their hands, they deserve it on behalf of the workers who have been exploited and exposed to unsafe and horrible conditions, they deserve it on behalf of the communities they have destroyed, and they deserve it on behalf of the people they have killed already in this plague. But will justice ever find them? The justice system, after all, has always been about the interests of those who run the corporations, not the interests of those victimized by them. It will be interesting to see whether our nation's justice comes anywhere close to what the corporate heads in China found when they poisoned the formula of little babies for a few more dollars. Time will tell.
So that is where I begin, with my own perspective on this. We all have them, and I am honest about mine. As you will see, those who tend the corporate website for Smithfield are not so honest.
Who are the people whose cavalier disregard for the lives of others is killing and terrorizing people all over the world right now?
This is their website: http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/.
This is what they say about the animals whom they stuff into tiny crates, deprive of the light of day for their entire lives, rip their babies from their breasts, exploit, and butcher: http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/responsibility/animal.aspx
Here is an excerpt:
"Smithfield Foods, Inc. is committed to being the industry leader in animal welfare practices to assure respectful and humane treatment of animals that we own or process, to produce wholesome food products for our customers and to analyze our operations and practices, including internal and independent third party audits, to ensure continual improvement."
Of course, this is sheer bullshit, and the recent plague has lifted the veil of lies.
Regarding gestation crates, they say, "Beginning in 2007 and continuing over the next 10 years, our hog production subsidiary Murphy-Brown will move to using group pens for housing pregnant sows. The process will phase out individual gestation stalls on all company-owned sow farms in favor of group housing. We are also working with our contract growers regarding system conversion." Now that last sentence is the operative one here. Because, of course, ALL of the pigs whom they torture and butcher are reared in huge factories by "contractors." And although they imply otherwise, if you really read that sentence, it is clear that they are not mandating anything about how those "growers" treat their pigs. So the pigs at the factory in Mexico where this plague was born were no doubt living miserable half-lives crammed into crates no bigger than their bodies.
This, by the way, is what a gestation crate looks like: http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/pig-gest-01.jpg.
That is the face of your meat. That is the face of the plague.
Oh. And here is what Smithfield says about the swine flu plague that is sweeping the earth, the one that has been irrefutably tracked down to the Smithfield plant in Mexico: http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/responsibility/news.aspx. This is their "responsibility" page, where they talk about what good corporate citizens they are. Here is the news release for April 26th: "4/26/2009 Smithfield Foods Says It Found No Evidence of Swine Influenza at Its Mexican Joint Ventures," and here is the release for April 28th: "4/28/2009 Smithfield Foods Says North American Influenza Not Present in Any of Its Worldwide Operations and Pork is Safe to Eat."
Well, THAT ought to make you feel better. Keep buying their death. Don't worry. They are your friends.
Oh here's something almost worth a laugh. This is their "Food Safety" page: http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/responsibility/food.aspx. PLEASE look this over, because this is the kind of shit that every transnational corporate killer papers themselves over with. This is the shiny, happy, "don't worry about us none" face of corporate capitalism. This, frankly, is the face of death.
Here's another lie that has been exposed in this catastrophe: In 2008, Smithfield claimed that all of its hogs would be "American born and bred," for whatever difference they supposed that would make to the hog eating public. Here is the announcement on their "responsibility" page: http://investors.smithfieldfoods.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=336555.
Workers for Smithfield fare little better than the millions of pigs crammed into crates and butchered every year in Smithfield factories, though I confess less sympathy for people who make a living contributing to the suffering of animals. In 2007, workers from a Smithfield plant in North Carolina actually marched on the Smithfield shareholder's meeting in Williamsburg, VA to demand the right to organize - a right brutally denied them by company management. One labor organization stated, "The Smithfield pork plan has been the site of some of the worst labor rights violations in the nation, and as the pressure has built on the Smithfield company to let workers organize the violations have only continued." ( http://blackwhite.blog-city.com/workers_to_go_to_smithfield_stockholders_meeting.htm). Apparently, decent wages and safe working conditions are good enough for the shareholders, but not for the people or the animals who make their profits for them.
The Mexican GCM subsidiary of Smithfield foods where the plague began claims to "produce" 950,000 hogs per year. They keep more than 50,000 pigs gestating for their profits. And remember, this is only one Smithfield subsidiary, one spoke in the wheel of the biggest slaughterhouse on earth.
This corporation sells its death under the brand names Armour, Smithfield, John Morrell, Farmland, Butterball, Ekrich, Curlys, Patrick Cudahy, Cooks, Cumberland Gap, and others. They have tentacles reaching into virtually every community on earth. They kill the animals whom they claim as "products," they kill their workers, they kill their own customers, and they kill people in surrounding communities. They kill with blunt instruments and sharp metal, they kill with germs and disease and poverty, they kill with poisons, they kill with malnutrition and heart disease and disinformation, they kill with antibiotic resistant super germs, and they kill with this new plague.
Who are these people, profiting from death and disinformation? It's hard to say. They insulate themselves, as does every rotted soul who crouches in the shadows behind their "corporate citizen" facade.
Their website gives only this information:
Smithfield Foods, Inc.
499 Park Avenue, Suite 600
New York, NY 10022
And you can also email them by clicking on their "contact us" link ( http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/contact/default.aspx). But putting a face to these greedy, cold blooded killers is more difficult. At least as of 2008, their director was (and possibly is) Paul J. Fribourg. Mr Fribourg owns a huge amount of stock in Smithfield, as well as a considerable amount of stock in the cosmetic giant Estee Lauder, another company which he "directs." He is also director of Loews Corporation, or was in 2008. Mr. Fribourg is, or was, married to someone named "Babette," and has four children. Beyond that, I can't imagine who he is, or how he can live with himself. Does his family know where their money comes from? Do they care? May the all find themselves as happy and well treated as the pigs in Smithfield's multi-national hog farms.
Here's another source that at least gives names, though not really any details that could illuminate how people could do this to other living beings in this world and still sleep at night. There are no faces here, no details of psychology and psychopathology. It is only a list of names. But it is the names of all Smithfield executives, last updated a month ago: http://www.lead411.com/company_SmithfieldFoodsInc_Pope_3122.html. In case anyone decides to take this down in the wake of this deadly plague outbreak, I will cut and paste the names, phone numbers (but note they are all the same), and positions here:
Dept Executive Title Phone
Exec Larry Pope [VCard] President/CEO 757-365-3000
Jeffrey Luckman [VCard] VP Livestock Procurement 757-365-3000
Jeffrey Deel [VCard] VP 757-365-3000
Jospeh Luter [VCard] EVP 757-365-3000
Michael Flemming [VCard] VP 757-365-3000
Richard Poulson [VCard] EVP 757-365-3000
Darek Nowakowski [VCard] President Animex Sp. z o.o. 757-365-3000
Enrico Piraino [VCard] Pres Stefano Foods Inc 757-365-3000
George Richter [VCard] President Pork Group 757-365-3000
James Sbarro [VCard] Pres Farmland 757-365-3000
Jerry Godwin [VCard] President Murphy-Brown 757-365-3000
Joseph Sebring [VCard] President John Morrell & Co. 757-365-3000
Robert Hofman [VCard] President North Side Foods Corporation 757-365-3000
Tim Schellpeper [VCard] Pres Smithfield Packing Company 757-365-3000
William Otis [VCard] President Patrick Cudahy 757-365-3000
IR/ PR Jerry Hostetter [VCard] VP IR/Corporate Communication 757-365-3000
Tech Mansour Zadeh [VCard] CIO 757-365-3000
Sales/Mktg James Schloss [VCard] VP Sales/Marketing 757-365-3000
Ops Bart Ellis [VCard] VP Operations Analysis 757-365-3000
Henry Morris [VCard] VP Operations 757-365-3000
Finance Robert Manly [VCard] EVP/CFO 757-365-3000
Carey Dubois [VCard] VP Finance 757-365-3000
Dennis Treacy [VCard] VP Environmental/Corporate Affairs 757-365-3000
Kenneth Sullivan [VCard] VP/Chief Accounting Officer 757-365-3000
Legal Michael Cole [VCard] VP/Chief Legal Officer 757-365-3000
I don't expect anyone to learn anything from this naked list of names. Perhaps one could try to contact all these people, to ask them how they can look at their own reflection each day. But I doubt that even that would illuminate much. We are left to create our own responses to this catastrophe. Where do we go from here? At the very, very least we must never EVER give these people any money ever again. We must never support this company, or any other which they are associated with. We must not buy their products, we must not buy their lies, and we must not let them build their factories in our neighborhoods. We must not work for them, and we must not ever, ever trust them. We must demand justice from our very suspect and tattered "justice" system, and if it does not come then we must ask ourselves why not and learn from that.
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article