Moo-ving people toward compassionate living
From Sally Sharp - 6 Oct 2003
ah ah ah (a pig greeting)
i am an avid piglover. but i also work in the hog industry. i am writing to tell you that the farm you have on your website appears to be substandard for the hog industry. i live in canada and there are some major differences i want to tell you.
1.toys-some (admittantly not all, but numbers are increasing) barns now supply toys for their pigs. they hang some kinds from the ceiling. i heard some places buy bowling balls to put in the larger pigs pens. the industry up here is more aware of their pigs health and well-being than the U.S.
2. Crates- there is also a trend beginning to move away from gestation crates. instead it is one to four large pens with all the pregnant sows in them. but there is one major drawback to this and it is the pigs themselves. As you may already know pigs are extremely territorial and like to have a firmly established pecking order. they are quite violent in fights with each other and these fights have caused sows to miscarry. it is very painful for the sow when this happens. Because of this, the industry is a little reluctant to go to this format. also, the farms with gesation crates are larger than the ones you show. there is a national standard for hog farms to follow on all aspects of the farm. right down to handling and treatment of pigs.
3. Biosecurity- this is for disease protection. pigs don't have a strong immune system. all workers and anyone else who has to enter the barn MUST shower in before any animal contact. the only exceptions are vets(not all the time) and emergency workers. also, workers cannot go anywhere pigs may be present, or other specific types of livestock.
4. farrowing crates- the ones you show are extremely cramped. most crates have room to turn their head to look behind them, and to move a step or two and to lie down comfortably. i have seen some sows actually able to turn around in their crates.
5. euthanasia- the industry here frowns on the use of blunt force trauma to euthanize pigs. the best way is carbon dioxide chambers. the pig just falls asleep. studies have proven this method to work best. it's pain free. many barns now use this method.
also, hog barn fires are a tragic part of the industry. but every fire i hear about, the workers and owners risk their own lives to save the hogs in the building. In truth, they get more money if they were to lose all the stock and the barn. but i have never heard of someone who owns or works at a barn leaving their stock to die if they can prevent it.
i realize that you don't like the hog industry as a whole. but you must realize that the majority of hog producers and workers do love pigs. the pigs are the reason i am where i am. i like to give them scratches behind the ears when i can spare a moment. i also am a christian through and through. i also would like to quote some of my own scripture to you.
Acts 10:12 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Peter is refusing to eat because he is still following the law of Moses, not realizing that the law of Moses was 100% fulfilled in the death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father HIMSELF commands Peter to eat of the animals of the earth.
In pig factory farming 2 you show two dead pigs in an alley. the reason they are out there is because they must be removed immediatly when discovered. If they are left in the pen, the other pigs will cannibalize them. i've seen it. in fact, if the pigs in a pen notice that another pig is ill or hurt in some way, they will kill it, if given the chance.
in pig factory farming 3 you imply that all farm workers mistreat the pigs in the barn. It does happen, but those farmers don't last long in the industry. Workers will report on each other if they see another worker abusing an animal.
in pig factory farming 7 you say that it is not normal for a pig to chew on a metal bar. if you want to check something out, you grab it with your hand right? pigs use their mouths as their hands and this pig is just trying to find out what it is. It actually is perfectly normal for a pig to chew on something that interests them. most potbelly owners i have talked to say their pig(s) have chewed on something in their house, whether it be furniture or a favourite toy.
i could keep going but this email would be too long. i do want to know one thing. what is your experience with pigs. have you worked with them? were you raised around them? i just want to know what you base your information on. i myself have been in them intensively for years now and also have my Diploma in Agriculture. i know that you probably don't like the fact that this is the industry i work in, but this is what i love. i love pigs. i am a hogaholic.
P.S. please tell me you don't support sabotage of hog farms. what usually happens there is that the pigs get hurt instead of the humans that are the targets, when it is the case. some saboteurs just try to disrupt the operation of the barn, which can be just as deadly. It saddens me to hear when a barn has been vandalized and the people responsible wind up killing the very pigs they claim to love. Don't kid yourself, it does happen. there was on instance in Britain where hog farms were being bombed. one farmer was killed countless pigs killed. it was a sad thing to hear about.
Reply from Frank L. Hoffman
Thank you for your email and the description of some of the hog farming operations in Canada.
Our investigations, however, indicate that your description is the exception rather than the rule; most are quite brutal operations. Even your description of crates are that they are too small for the pigs to turn around. Pigs don't create the problems of overcrowded conditions, humans do.
It's interesting that you quote from Acts 10, but as so often occurs, you have taken the passage out of the context of its true and historical meaning. Please read: http://www.all-creatures.org/discuss/svtacts10.1-11.18-flh.html
Violence only produces more violence. The only way to end such violence is to set the example of peaceful, cruelty-free living, while presenting the truth about human atrocities and cruelty in a peaceful and loving manner that will encourage others to do the same.
With this in mind, we struggle with what your interpretation of "pig lover" truly means.
We look forward to hearing from you again.
In the Love of the Lord,
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