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December 07, 2005

East Moline and the Empire of the Pigs

"The Empire of the Pigs" is the title from a 1998 Time Magazine report on Seaboard Corp. The sub-title was: "A Little-Known Company Is A Master At Milking Governments For Welfare".

Folks in East Moline may recognize some of the names if they read the piece. Rick Hoffman, chief of Triumph Foods and the man who wants to build a a 600,000 square-foot slaughterhouse in E.M., is quoted several times. He was Seaboard's vice president of finance at the time the company wooed and won millions in subsidies from Albert Lea, Minn., then abandoned the plant and workers there when Oklahoma offered a sweeter deal.

Seaboard Farms, a Seaboard Corp. subsidiary of which Hoffman was once president, is recently formed Triumph's marketing partner.

Interesting reading. Wonder if any of the E.M. alderpeople will take a look?

Posted by jcb at December 7, 2005 08:49 PM


Good reporting, jcb (or good googling!). Will you be using this for your weekend column? If not, I hope the information finds it's way into the regular news reports.

Posted by: paladin at December 8, 2005 11:03 AM

Wonder if the Dispatch/Argus could get permission to reprint the Times report? Seems like the secretive Seaboard and the equally low-profile Triumph could use more 'sunlight.'

Posted by: Greg Gackle at December 8, 2005 11:18 AM

Some may consider this an off-topic Factory Farm rant. It's actually just one step further up the same food chain.

From: http://christensenfarms.com/subsection_news.asp?id=110&art=4

"Triumph Foods has inked a long-term genetics-supply agreement with PIC, Franklin, Kent. Under the contract, Triumph genetics will use PIC-based genetic platforms to support more than 550,000 sows."


From: http://www.factoryfarm.org/whatis/2.php

"An estimated 70% of all antibiotics in the U.S. are fed to pigs, poultry and cattle merely to promote growth and to compensate for the unsanitary and confined conditions on factory farms."

Hungry yet?

Before you take a big bite of that holiday ham, (or more importantly, before you feed it to your kids) you might want to know more about how it came to be. If it's from a Factory Farm, and you know just a little about them, you may loose your appetite.

The proposed plant is the processing arm of 'Factory' Farms. Not to be confused with Family Farms, where the farmer will die trying to keep his land, his livestock, and his product healthy for his family, the next generation, and his consumers. These are bottom-line-driven genetically supported and antibotically controlled protein producing money machines. Makes your mouth water, doesn't it.

From: http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/factor/still.asp

"Factory farms continue to foul Illinois' rivers and stream. In August 1998, a cattle feedlot operator pumped out a manure pit, discharging the contents into a tributary of the Fox River. The flood of animal waste killed every fish for 4.5 miles, according to the state investigation."

These pigs will come from Factory Farms. Just one step up the corporate food chain. We're to assume there's nothing to be concerned about here? The processing plant suits will become good neighbors when they get to 'our' town?

If you haven't seen "The Meatrix" or maybe it didn't register before, now might be a good time to take a look -- before the holiday ham. Laugh till you cry.


For more information about Factory Farming, see:


Posted by: Jimi Velocity at December 9, 2005 12:29 AM