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Haiti: the tale of the creole pig

January 18, 2010 am31 4:51 am

Five days before the earthquake, Kendra Pierre-Louis blogged at JustMeans about the creole pig.  It’s a story that must be told and retold.

The small black pigs were ubiquitous, owned by most rural households in Haiti. They provided protein. And they browsed garbage, both cleaning and converting refuse into food.

And in 1982, the United States had them eradicated. [date edited]

The fat pink pigs sent to replace the creole pigs were poorly suited to Haitian conditions, and too expensive to feed and care for.

Did this government really need to cut the caloric intake in what was already the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country?

Go read the full story.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2010 am31 10:02 am 10:02 am

    In the comments, she mentions a new pig being bred by French and Haitian agronomists, and the Grassroots International page that suggests having a pig party to raise money for one of these “piggy banks” (the pigs were often used for school fees or money for a wedding or medical expenses).

    I think I’m going to do it. Thanks, jd! (I haven’t been much of an activist since becoming a mama. This is a good mix for me – help after the hurricane, and a chance to get information out about Haiti, all in my own living room.)

  2. January 18, 2010 am31 11:01 am 11:01 am

    Was it necessary for Haiti to open itself to subsidised American rice (while not being allowed subsidise its own farmers)? This led to a large shift off the land and into city slums as farming became unviable. this was imposed by the IMF which, on paper, is not a branch of the US govt.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/panorama/2823009.stm

    It is necessary to keep people impoverished if you want them to be grateful for a job in a sweatshop making your clothes.

  3. January 18, 2010 pm31 11:42 pm 11:42 pm

    Sue,

    it’s gratifying to hear that something I wrote actually turned out to be useful. And Fergal (taxation coming up next term), I think we are just starting the story, though the pig and the rice may be good places to start.

    Certainly I googled “Haitian black pig” because I remember reading about them 22-23 years ago, as part of the build-up of anger and frustration that brought down Baby Doc.

    Food policy, water policy, farm policy, work policy… these are all huge in ways that are hard to fathom from the US or western Europe.

    Anyway, thanks for the heads up on rice. Not surprising, but I didn’t know it.

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