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Gonzo Gastronomy: How the Food Industry Has Made Bacon a Weapon of Mass Destruction

The confluence of factory farming, the boom in fast food and manipulation of consumer taste created processed foods that can hook us like drugs.

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To compound the problem, "the raising of swine is increasingly centralized in huge operations, often adjacent to poultry farms and migratory bird habitats," writes Mike Davis. These operations often abut cities, meaning the "superurbanization of the human population … has been paralleled by an equally dense urbanization of its meat supply." These elements have produced an interspecies blender that is spitting out new viruses at an alarming rate, like the current swine flu bug. The Frankenstein monster that is factory farming is leading to a Frankenstein monster of a deadlier kind.

Arun Gupta is a founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper. He is writing a book on the decline of American empire for Haymarket Books.