Monday, December 6, 2010

Who Has Guts?

A reporter in a small city in Hubei Province discovered an unusual practice in the local slaughterhouse. When pigs are slaughtered, employees are forced to separate out the small intestines from the meat and offal for sale to an individual who takes them away and sells them for a much higher price. "If any employee of the slaughterhouse tries to prevent this, they are beaten up. They comply out of fear."

The reporter says he went to the slaughterhouse at 5 am on December 1 to see what was happening. About 80 pigs were slaughtered, the offal was separated from the carcasses and moved to another room. As workers were cleaning the offal, a lady who was not an employee of the factory came and separated out the small intestines, put them in a bag and took them away.

At 6 am, a pork dealer came to buy the pork and offal to sell at markets in the city. A trader told the reporter the intestines are purchased for 10 yuan and resold to a specialized wholesaler for as much as 25 yuan.

So why are pig intestines so valuable? The reporter says that small intestines are not too valuable as food since they don't taste as good as large intestines. He learned that ingredients for medicines can be extracted from small intestines.

In 2008 the world discovered that the blood-thinning agent heparin is made from pig intestines. This may explain why they are so valuable.

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