Year of the Pig
Given that February 5th is the start of the Chinese Year of the Pig, it seems like a fitting time to reflect on the lives of pigs. Despite the fact that pigs are sensitive, intelligent animals - even more intelligent than dogs - the majority of farmed pigs are kept in barren, cramped pens in which they can do nothing all day long except bite on the metal bars that confine them.
When a breeding sow is due to give birth she is put into a farrowing crate which is little bigger than her own body. After her piglets are born they can suckle from her but she is denied her mothers right to touch or nurture them. From the farrowing crate the sow is moved to a similarly sized restraint on her own called a 'sow stall’, or a group housing area for female pigs. She is then artificially inseminated and waits in the group housing pen or sow stall during her 4 month pregnancy before being taken back to the farrowing crate to start all over again.
I've no doubt if any of us were confined in this intolerable manner we would go insane -and pigs do too. Why not help to make the Year of the Pig the best year ever for them by getting pork off your fork?
School defends care of its pigs
I refer to the article "School defends care of its pigs. Piggies in the middle of dispute," highlights the way students who attend Urrbrae Agricultural high are taught animal husbandry, in this case for pigs.
Former student, Sophie Remin, has managed to collect over 10,000 signatures from people who are horrified to hear how these gentle animals are treated. Sophie is now studying conservation and land management and is acutely aware of unsustainable animal agriculture, and that the toxic run off from intensive factory farmed piggeries is one of the worst pollutants in the world. Urrbrae Deputy Principal, Ross Templeman claims a "proud history of introducing students to pig husbandry." and that the pigs are "safe and happy."
How can this be when they are kept in confining stalls, and when due to give birth are jammed into body hugging farrowing crates, supposedly to protect the piglets from harm. Pigs are gentle mothers, so the babes are far more likely to be squashed in such close confinement, than in welfare friendly eco- system farms.
Like me, Sophie is vegan, and knows we have absolutely no need of any animal products to be healthy and consumers are looking for kinder, healthier food. So Urrbrae would do well to look at Tyson foods, America's largest producer of animal products, that have seen the writing on the wall, and are developing a large vegan arm of its business. Making use of arable land for crops, fruit trees and vegetables is the way for our students' sustainable future.