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The Story of Bitsel: A Potbelly Pig
The story about Bitsel is from Peggy Couey Dragonwood Pig Refuge
Commentary by Frank L. Hoffman
Peggy Couey had placed two pigs named Mesha and Bitsel in a new adopted home. She wrote: A few days after Mesha moved in we placed a second pig to be her companion - same age, spayed, from a "housepig" home. Bitsel has sulked, flew into a rage and bit her new "mom" and generally refused all contact of any kind.
It's the housepig syndrome. So many pigs, who have never learned to BE pigs, are suddenly thrust out of their bed and breakfast and have no idea how to cope. They don't realize that life also involves a wonderful, acorn filled wood, a pond ready for mudbaths, and a new family. All they can see is their grief at being abandoned.
Pigs who have been outside in an area where they could construct a life seldom exhibit this sort of grief. They may be unhappy but its a pragmatic sort of downer. Bitsel is the pig equivalent of the child throwing herself in uncontrollable tears into her closet when she finds out Daddy has moved out. (I remember doing that myself!) Everything she knew is gone. What an injustice we do these pigs when we make them so dependent on us for their entire lifestyle. She will recover. It won't be fast or easy for her or for her new caregiver but she will one day be a much happier, more well adjusted pig than she ever was in her former home.
The Bible teaches us that we are to be responsible caregivers to all of God's non-human creatures. It is obvious that Bitsel was made to feel like a human member of her former family. She was never allowed to be the animal that God created her to be. She may have pictured herself as non-human, physically, but emotionally and spiritually, she was one of the family; a family that abandoned her without making any provisions for her to adjust to a new life, particularly one as drastically different from the one she knew. They failed in their responsibility to Bitsel.
What was done to Bitsel, was the same as a human family taking their loving human child to an orphanage, and saying, "We don't want her anymore. You take care of her." The emotional distress that Bitsel is experiencing is exactly the same as any human child would feel, and perhaps worse, because she is no longer a "house pig". Not only has she lost her family, she has also lost the comforts of a human home.
This story of Bitsel also teaches us how similar the emotional make-up of pigs is to that of humans. However, for the most part, we don't want to know these things about pigs, because it makes us even more responsible for what we do to them as a species. The bacon, the pork, the ham that most of the human population crave, comes from the Bitsels of this world, whom we allow to suffer and die in the most horrendous ways. We need to wake up to this travesty! We need to accept our responsibility to the Bitsels and the other animals of this world and stop eating them. They have a right to live their lives as we would want to live: a life free of fear and pain and suffering. We need to respect them as fellow beings and companions. We need to feel both their physical and emotional pain. We need to empathize with the Bitsels of this world and feel as they do, and then change our way of life so that we will no longer do any harm to them or to each other. It's time for true and lasting peace to reign in this world. (FLH)
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