The Surprising Uses of Pigs

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Have you ever wondered what one pig yeilds? A lot more than just bacon!

Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma spent three years tracing the products made in part with pieces of a 228-pound pig, known as "number 05049". The book she published with her results is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art. Says museum staff supervisor Paul Galloway, the book shows "the level of disconnect, physically and psychologically, consumers have from the production of objects we use on a daily basis."

According to Meindertsma, pigs are used in someway in the following products:

• Soap, shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics and toothpaste;

• Dough improver, which uses proteins from pig hair;

• Gelatin, which is used in low-fat foods as well as in cheesecake, vanilla pudding, chocolate mousse and tiramisu;

• Beer, wine and fruit juice, which can be filtered by using a gelatin sieve to clear out impurities;

• Bone china and paint, paintbrushes and sandpaper;

• Collagen to remove wrinkles and pig heart valves to replace defective human valves.

"What I learned from doing it is that the product world is more complicated then you can imagine, and that we have no clue of what is in the products that surround us," she told CNN. "Even if you are genuinely interested in what is in your products, it is extremely difficult and often impossible to find out."

Meindertsma concluded that people have a responsibility to know what they consume, even when that information is not readily available. In her opinion, comsumers have a lot of power to change this system, so they should demand products that make their components and producers clear and known.

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