Pork, a forbidden food - an analysis

God Almighty plainly instructs in the Glorious Quran not to consume pork. Indeed, He knows the reasons for it, and with the passage of time, many alarming issues linked with the consumption of pork have been surfacing.

Accuracy of the Glorious Quran
Now, this is interesting. If you check Quranic verses 2:172-174 and 6:145, you will observe that the term mentioned with reference to pork is 'Rijis' which means 'unclean.' Thus, pork is harmful for the human body because it's unclean. Reuter News Service reported in September 1990 that the European Community veterinary experts visited the U.S. on their half yearly inspections. They found that the post slaughter hygeine conditions of the carcasses of pigs posed a distinct threat for causing Trichinosis, a disease discussed in detail in the following paragraph. Coming back to the Glorious Quran, the use of the word "Rijis" or "unclean" is an evidence of its correctness. The same concept was expressed by expert veterinarians centuries later.

Trichinosis and pork
The parasite causing Trichinosis was first discovered in the mid 19th century. Over the years that followed, a lot of information was gathered about this disease infecting humans. Undercooked or raw pork and pork products, such as pork sausage, are primarily responsible for causing Trichinosis in humans. It's an infection of the intestine that could get serious. Though is western countries they say it's now curable, it's a lot more threatening in other not so developed parts of the world. And, despite the cure, once infected, it can cause enough suffering. Trichinosis parasites, also known as roundworms, is a larvae which lodges in the flesh of pigs. It has huge potentials of damaging human body tissues. This illness has two phases - the initial stage when symptoms appear a couple of days after ingestion causing abdominal discomfort, nausea and diaarrhea. And the second stage that brings about symptoms like muscle ache, itching, fever and joint pain which happens two weeks (sometimes more) after ingestion. Even if such a disease is curable, it's a big reason to avoid its cause. Pork and Trichinosis - check the diagram

Cirrhosis and pork
Though the Western media has not given this news much publicity, as expected, in the mid 1980s two researchers from Ottawa General Hospital and University of Ottawa were convinced through various studies that the only other dietary factor linked with cirrhosis of the liver is consumption of pork. In those parts of Canada where pork consumption was the highest, incidents of people suffering from cirrhosis were the highest too. According to studies, both alcohol and pork are related to cirrhosis, and pork seems to have a still greater link to this disease than alcohol. The risk of developing cirrhosis on the slightly long term becomes highest when the consumption of pork and alcohol are combined. 'Pork linked to liver cirrhosis' - Canadian Science News

Pork, an environmental hazard
Western environmentalists nowadays seem to be complaining a lot about pig farms. Pig farming is becoming a serious threat to the environment. Robert Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer, mentioned in one of his television appearances, that people don't want to buy houses within a few kilometers of a pig farm. Pig sheds are constructed differently compared to places used for accommodating other animals like cattle and sheep. In pig farms, the floor of the shed is made of iron bars with narrow spaces in between. The excrement of pigs passes through these bars underground and is then carried through pipes into a tank situated a little distance away from the shed. This tank is perpetually filled with pig feces that's periodically collected for processing. According to Robert Kennedy Jr., the strength of the stench that comes from this tank and the long distances it can travel is unbelievable. Residents living in houses that are situated within a mile of a pig farm, cannot keep their windows open even in summer. If you take a bottle of orange juice from the fridge, pour it into a glass, leave the glass on the dining table for only 10 minutes and then take a sip from it, you'll get a whiff of the stench of feces from that glass of orange juice. Crew members of aircrafts on domestic routes flying at lower altitudes complain constantly that many of their passengers get sick and throw up while flying over pig farms. The stench travels as high as that! Such are the drawbacks rampant in and around pig farms in North America and Western Europe. In countries like China, Far-East and Latin America etc. it's far worse. Problems like these have arisen purely because of the fault of humans, not the poor animals. In their greed to sell and eat, humans forget that pigs are animals that are naturally meant to live in the wild, not to be herded into sheds for breeding and slaughtering. Not to forget, swine flu is also an outcome of overcrowded sheds in pig farms.

No need to kill every animal at random for food
The types of animals slaughtered for food should be kept to the minimal. Eating the meat of an animal is not the same as plucking a fruit from a tree and eating it. This is one of the reasons we are required to mention the name of Allah while slaughtering a beast for food, which again, is one of the aspects that bring the concept of Halal meat. Read more on the purpose of eating Halal in my previous post here. This is necessary as a gesture of respect to the soul of that animal that's dying to serve us. We are permitted to consume as food - cattle, sheep, camel, poultry and sea-food. That's enough!! We don't need to go about killing every living being to satisfy our hunger, do we?

Let's try to learn the difference between pork and pigs
Most importantly, one needs to keep in mind that God Almighty has prohibited us from consuming pigs as food. But pigs have NOT been portrayed 'evil' as animals or living beings in the Glorious Quran. Having said that, we need to understand the difference between pork and pigs. While it is absolutely incumbent upon us to AVOID eating the meat of pigs, there is NO reason to mistreat or brutalize this animal because of its appearance. God Almighty gives us NO warrant in the Quran for such inhuman behaviour and cruelty toward any of His creation. In fact, I find the Quranic dictate of not consuming pigs as food to be very good news for them. Pigs are animals naturally suited to live in the wild like many other beasts, and that's where they should be left. Being an enthusiastic animal lover all my life, I frankly feel very sorry for the poor pigs. Many ignorant Muslims consider them 'evil' for no rhyme or reason and brutalize them by stoning, chasing or beating while in non-Muslm countries pigs are slaughtered mercilessly for food. Both practices are a violation. The Glorious Quran simply says to leave them alone.