In 2007 Rolling Stone published a devastating investigative piece on pig factory farms in the United States that made Upton Sinclair's The Jungle look like a pamphlet for Omaha Steaks. How devastating? Since reading it I am still barely able to consume pork products unless they're on some Williamsburg/Portlandia tip where the waiter is like, "This bacon comes from a pig named Steve that was raised on a farm one hour outside of Albany and fed on a diet of organic Georgia green grass." Unless I'm drunk or hungover, in which case I'll eat the dirtiest of dirty bodega bacon.
In the article, journalist Jeff Tietz detailed how these factory farms employed vile and unsanitary methods that resulted in large amounts of toxic waste being produced, effectively creating a bio-hazard for any living thing within miles. One would think that after such a thorough piece the industry would reform these heinous practices. One would be wrong.
A mysterious foam is now causing hog farms in the Midwest to explode, killing thousands of pigs and injuring workers. Minnesota Daily reports that the foam forms on the top of manure pits and traps gases like methane, which accidentally ignites and then, well, you're in some deep shit. It's happened to nearly half a dozen barns in the Midwest in the past few years, and now researchers at the University of Minnesota are trying to get to the bottom of it.
[pic via AP, article via Grist]