Donald Trump and his administration would really, really like to ease regulations on the American hog slaughter industry, a move they’ve been trying to enact with the proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS). The NSIS would effectively speed up the pace of swine slaughterhouses and lessen the number of inspectors working the lines, therefore putting the onus on already strained plant workers to check for food quality.
The folks at the Food Integrity Campaign, a Washington, DC-based whistleblower protection and advocacy nonprofit, have taken to calling this series of measures “Trump’s Pork Rule.” The FIC, a subsidiary of the Government Accountability Project, has outlined the many problems that would result from the implementation of such a move, which the group sees as an outgrowth of the administration's corporate greed. It would endanger public health significantly, increasing the risk of meat contamination with such delightful foreign matter as hair, toenails, and cystic kidneys that can make a breeding ground for E. coli; expose a largely immigrant and undocumented workforce to repetitive motion injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even neurological disease; wreak environmental havoc; and compromise animal welfare.
That's quite a laundry list, but the FIC realizes that it may be tough to get many Americans to truly care, let alone act against such a move, when so many people feel far removed from these consequences. So it has developed a SNES-style video game, released on Tuesday, to compel people to action. It is called Bacon Defender, and you can play it now.
Bacon Defender is a terrifically fun and very difficult game, one that asks players to zap fecal matter that plunges from the sky, a visual signifier meant to emulate how readily literal shit can get on your precious meat. You must blast the "baddies"—”Poopsies,” “Super Poopsies,” and the occasional lawyer—with your weapon, which just happens to be a hot dog that shoots mustard lasers. (Vegetarians and vegans, there's room in this movement for you, too! The game has a mode that swaps that hot dog out for an eggplant.)
If you get lucky, you can catch pickles, extra mustard, or, uh, Rosie O’Donnell for extra ammo—all while Trump’s large, dumb head looms over you the background and belts out some catchphrase he's tweeted.
The music is a bop, and the gameplay’s straightforward enough. After roughly seven minutes of playing and losing repeatedly, I’ve found that the easiest way to vanquish your opponents is to simply move the weapon back and forth, toggling between the left and right arrow keys rabidly and praying that strategy works.
Amanda Hitt, the FIC’s Director, told MUNCHIES over email on Thursday that she first got the idea to develop the game “around the time of the election.” She and her team figured it was but a matter of time before Trump’s deregulation agenda would weasel its way into the food supply.
“The game is about raising awareness,” Hitt wrote MUNCHIES. “So few people know about what’s going on in administrative rule-making—bills and laws, sure, but not so much rules. That’s a real shame, because this new pork rule not only affects the way we eat, but how workers and animals are treated as well.” She’d like for people to share the game with friends and “let others know what’s really going on."
“People who play the game can be part of the solution, too,” she wrote MUNCHIES. “We give folks an opportunity to get active and stop this rule from getting enacted.” That action takes the form of offering public comment on the NSIS to the USDA. The USDA's window for public comment is still open until May 2.
Folks, we truly do inhabit the dumbest timeline, so perhaps zapping fecal matter with mustard-laser on your computer will be what stops our food systems from going to, well, shit.