Pigs are smart
I think it was Arnold Ziffel who first made me love pigs. If you’re too young to remember him (or if your parents only let you watch the ABC) Arnold was a pig on the TV show Green Acres. He was handsome and he was smart—hell, he could do crosswords!
My next favourite pig was probably Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web (read to us by Mr Forrester in grade 3) who only confirmed the idea that we shouldn’t be eating animals, because they want to live too.
I was really quite obsessed with pigs, even before Babe came along and stole our hearts. I collected pigs (not real ones, pictures and ornaments and piggy banks and that kind of thing). When I first saw pictures of Edgar Allen Pig, from Edgar’s Mission, many years ago I could absolutely understand how Pam Ahern could fall in love with him, but I still hadn’t REALLY met a pig (apart from a quick pat at the Royal Melbourne Show each year).
This year I’ve visited Edgar’s Mission and changed all that, getting to know several of the pigs up there—Hip Hop Bob, Polly, Hamish and the others. They are even more funny and clever than I’d expected. Check out a video of Polly doing her darnedest to show people how clever pigs are.
Treatment of pigs on farms
And that’s why it kills me to see lovely, smart pigs being squished into horrible little pens where they can move around or snuffle around in the dirt. Where the mothers can’t get anywhere near their babies and have to lie down between the bars for their babies to feed. Then once their babies are taken away, they’re re-inseminated, ready to do it all again!
Then, of course, there’s the mutilation of baby pigs, who have their teeth, tails and testicles cut off without anesthetic…there is no way that that is not cruel…and yes they do feel it, even if they can’t tell us they do!
That’s what most of us know about, but there’s even more than that. What I learnt was that pigs have been bred to be hugely obese, so they provide more meat for humans to eat. They’re not meant to be enormous. Some of them can hardly walk and, if they’re lucky enough to be rescued from factory farms, they die early from the same kinds of diseases that obese humans die from—just like the lovely Edgar. Their poor bodies just can’t take it.
Photographer Tamara Keneally recently published a series called A Pig’s Life showing an example of the treatment of pigs in factory farms. it’s really worth a look. It’s all just so disturbing. Especially when people around me tell me they know all about this (I’m pretty sure they don’t REALLY know), and they still eat bacon and pork…because they like the TASTE of it…anyway I won’t start on that…
Rally for pigs
Melbourne Pig Save are doing something about it. Bearing witness, reminding people that this is happening…right now…, and giving people the chance to meet pigs and see how fantastic they are.
On Saturday we joined the rally in Bourke Street. It’s always somber, but this time it was brightened up by the arrival of two tiny piglets, Wilbur and Alice who amused everyone with their snuffling and socializing.
My favourite part though, is watching the reactions of passers by. My favourites are the groups of teenagers. There will be 5 or 6 of them and most will walk past, but one or 2 will look back and hesitate, and quite often they will call their friends back to come and see all this horrible stuff about what people are doing to pigs just to make bacon and pork. I reckon those kids are the ones who are going to change things in the future.
Toronto Pig Save
In case you didn’t see it recently, there is some incredible footage of the people from Toronto Pig Save, who rally along the route to an abattoir in Toronto. On this occasion they were enduring a heatwave and fed watermelon and bottled water to some heat-affected pigs on their way to slaughter. I know it doesn’t help those particular pigs too much, but it was a few seconds of kindness to each of them, and that video has been shared all over Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Pigs in Australia
Read about the treatment of pigs in Australia and remember Arnold, Wilbur, Edgar, Polly, Hip Hop, Hamish, other Wilbur, Alice…and all the rest of them, next time you think about eating bacon or pork.
(My fellow veg*ns, this does not apply to you – I know you wouldn’t dream of it. Enjoy your facon!) 🙂