[Ed. Note: Please watch the animated 13,200 Pigs Are Slaughtered Per Hour, depicting this atrocious industry that provides bacon and ribs and ham and pork chops because humans want to eat them. Imagine eating Bruce or Owen?? Go vegan!]
Silence in pigs is unusual and disheartening. It points to maternal deprivation and social isolation, of never learning how to act and react like a normal pig. To watch a social animal, like a pig, choose self-imposed hermitage is painful.
Date of birth: 3/13/1999
Arrival at Animal Place: 1/13/2004
Bruce nearly wasted away. He lived a shadowed existence, starved to the bones. When Animal Place staff saved his life six years ago, it wasn't clear whether the rescue was salvation for Bruce or a kinder, more humane death. We had never seen a more emaciated pig.
In his quietness, he showed us a desire to live. And eat. For the first six months, his days winnowed down to meal after wholesome meal. Bruce never talked. He never grunted or attempted to communicate. He just ate, trying desperately to regain nearly 250 lbs of lost tissue.
Silence in pigs is unusual and disheartening. It points to maternal deprivation and social isolation, of never learning how to act and react like a normal pig. A pig's world is full of smells and grunts, each one conveying different thoughts and feelings. These "words" are learned through experience - the sweet and breathy grunt of a mother producing milk, the high-pitched screech of an angry sibling, the airy grunt of a happy pig, the resonant and deep baritone of an angry friend. None of these Bruce knew, because Bruce never had anyone to teach him.
A solitary Bruce
Bruce's first experience with the other pigs at the sanctuary was confusing, full of miscommunication and awkwardness. He eschewed the company of the herd because he knew nothing else.
To watch a social animal, like a pig, choose self-imposed hermitage is painful.
Until Owen. A bouncing, day-old piglet, abandoned on the road, Owen fought tooth and hoof to survive. He lacked a mother, so he found a father in Bruce. Shadowing his every move, Owen took as much as he gave. He taught Bruce how to better talk with the other pigs, and Bruce gave him warmth and unending patience.
Bruce and Owen
At the very mature age of twelve, Bruce shares his words minimally. He is scarred from his previous life. Owen is still his partner in crime. They are often found side by side in the pasture, rooting around in the earth, bathing in the sun. Bruce has found his place. His world may be a little quieter than other pigs, but it is no less enriching.
How You Can Help Pigs:
Making compassionate choices has never been easier! More and more people are becoming aware of the myriad alternatives to animal products. There are several faux bacon products available, check out the natural foods section of your local supermarket.
And when you see an animal suffering, call your local animal control, humane society or SPCA and report the neglect or cruelty. You can be the voice for the animals.