to humans, to animals, to our environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
Earlier this month (August 2001), we saw a church sign advertising their fund raising pork dinner. They were concerned with their human needs and desires with no apparent concern for the pain, suffering and unbelievable cruelty that the pigs were subjected to. The church had apparently totally forgotten about the second part of the Lord's Prayer, where we are to pray: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God's heavenly will is that there is no longer any death or pain (Revelation 21:4). The only way a pig's flesh and other body parts come to our dinner plates is through pain and death. We have lost sight of the ultimate love and compassion that God has in store for every living soul.
We need to familiarize ourselves with the horrors taking place on our factory farms and in our slaughterhouses and take a stand against them. Female pigs used for breeding (called 'breeding sows' by industry) are confined most of their lives in 'gestation crates' (photo-above left) which are so small that these pigs cannot even turn around or clean themselves. The pigs' basic needs are denied, they are artificially inseminated three times a year, and they experience severe physical and psychological disorders.
Pregnant pigs are confined in 'farrowing crates' (photo-right) just before giving birth. They remain here for a few weeks until their babies are weaned, and then they are transferred back to the restrictive 'gestation crates' where they spend most of their lives - unable to even turn around.
After about three weeks of weaning, the baby pigs are moved to another facility to grow to slaughter weight. Pigs raised on factory farms are confined in metal and concrete pens with hard slatted flooring. They live here until they reach slaughter weight of 250 pounds at six months old. As can be seen in the photo (left), these pens become so crowded that the pigs can hardly move around.
These practices are evil!
We should not be participating in these acts of unspeakable cruelty by considering pigs as nothing more than a commodity to be brutalized and eaten to satisfy our gluttony. Pigs are very intelligent and sensitive creatures. They feel physical pain just as we do, and they mourn the loss of friends and loved ones as we do. Pigs are not a commodity; they are our fellow living beings created by God to enjoy their lives.
Every time a church has a pork or ham dinner or serves bacon or sausage at a breakfast it is saying to the community that there is nothing wrong with these practices and that it's acceptable to mistreat pigs, because they are lesser beings than we are. That's exactly what was said of the black slaves in our country only a century and a half ago.
According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture 115.2 million pigs were slaughtered last year and another 10 million are estimated to have died by being raised in this manner and during transportation to the slaughterhouses.
When are we going to wake up and open our eyes and ears to these horrors and carnage, and speak out against them. The time is NOW!
The intent of this series is to wake up and encourage the Church to greater works of love and compassion (John 14:12). It is not to condemn the Church, in general, or any individual, any more than Jesus condemned the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said to her, "...go your way. From now on sin no more." (John 8:11) And this is our message to the Church: Recognize our sins of the past and go forth seeking to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), correcting the sins of the past, for that is the only way we can truly show the world that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, might, and mind, including the whole of creation, which includes our neighbors whom we are to love as ourselves.
Our thanks to Farm Sanctuary for providing the pig factory farming photos and some of the commentary.
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© 2001 - The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation. All rights reserved. May be copied only for personal use or by not for profit organization to promote compassionate and responsible living. All copied and reprinted material must contain proper credits and web site link www.all-creatures.org .
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