10 September 2010

Dogs and dog owners alike celebrate International Bacon Day, pigs not so much

I’m not sure a facepalm, a roll of the eyes, a head shake or a combination of all three could truly capture my reaction when I made the realization that International Bacon Day exists—observed the Saturday before Labor Day. The shock and awe continued when I discovered that this ridiculous made up holiday is actually celebrated by people and their dogs.

Last Saturday, September 4, a group of canines along with their owners made their way to Cincinnati, Ohio to commemorate all things bacon. The event, called the Beggin’ Bacon Bash, was fittingly sponsored by the makers of the Beggin’ Bacon treats for dogs, Purina.

Sounds disgusting err sorry interesting, but what exactly occurred at this International Bacon Day “observance”? From a release floated out by Purina’s parent company Nestle’:

This dog-friendly family event took place in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the largest pork-producing cities in the United States. The Beggin’ Bacon Bash featured special cooking demonstrations by Kevin Gillespie, a finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef” reality show known for incorporating pork into almost every signature dish.

First off remind me to steer clear of the “Queen City” in the future and secondly I would suggest Mr. Gillespie get his cholesterol checked, stat.

“I’m a huge fan of the pig, and I’m crazy about bacon in particular. It was a blast to host this event with Beggin’®,” said Gillespie, who is currently the co-owner and executive chef at The Woodfire Grill in his native Atlanta. “I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite pork dishes with other bacon-lovers and I hope that I inspired them to embrace pork within their own cooking.”

I doubt pigs reciprocate the love, sir.

And not only is bacon unbelievably unhealthy for humans and dogs but the conditions pigs must endure on factory farms are downright horrid.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS):

More than 6.1 million pigs are used for breeding in the U.S. pork industry. The majority (80%) of breeding sows are confined in gestation crates for nearly the entirety of their approximately four-month (112-115 day) pregnancies. Gestation crates are individual, concrete-floored metal stalls measuring 0.6-0.7 m (2.0-2.3 ft) by 2.0-2.1 m (6.6-6.9 ft), only slightly larger than the animal and so severely restrictive that the sows are unable to turn around. In typical pig production facilities, gestation crates are placed side by side in rows, often with more than 20 sows per row and 100 or more sows per shed. The crate floors are customarily constructed with slats to allow manure to fall into a lower pit to separate the sow from her excrement.

The "family" event status of the Beggin’ Bash just disappeared faster than a plate of bacon in front of Mark “The Human Vacuum” Lyle of Columbus, Ohio. He of course is the man who won the All Pro Eating—I can’t make this stuff up—sanctioned pig side aka bacon eating contest that took place during the festivities.

Apparently between the copious amounts of pigs flesh ingesting, live music and dog agility demonstrations—huh?—the bacon inspired party was a hit with all.

“Because dogs – and their owners – share a hilarious obsession for bacon, Beggin’ created an exciting, dog-friendly event for the entire family that’s all about bacon,” said Stephen Trammell, assistant brand manager, NestlĂ© Purina Dog Snacks brand pet food. “There was no better way to celebrate International Bacon Day.”

Yes absolutely hilarious Mr. Trammell, a real downright knee slapper.

Please note: The picture above was included in the release and titled: "Taking down 37 pieces of bacon in five minutes, Tiny Tim Rauscheder was one of 12 contestants in the human bacon-eating contest at the Beggin’® Bacon Bash in Cincinnati on Sept. 4."

Eric Fortney | @elfortney
Eric is the co-founder & executive editor of This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his TDIV work, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: Nestlé Purina Pet Care