The Little Pig Who Could
Ever so often, you read a story which shatters your heart into pieces. This was the case after reading the story about a captive pig (I’ll call her Nina) giving her all to escape from a transportation vehicle on her way to the slaughter house.
A driver who was behind the transportation vehicle managed to capture Nina on camera hopping on her fellow inmate’s back and then proceeding to jump over the high standing cage, plummeting to the road below.
I think it’s safe to say that animals feel emotions as well. Pigs are thought to have the same mental capabilities of a three year old child. All of these mammals, and all other mammals, are sentient beings who share the same neural architecture underlying their emotional lives and who experience a wide spectrum of emotions including the capacity to feel pain and to suffer. This determined pig obviously knew that she was headed to a place of danger.
Unfortunately, Nina’s story ended the same as the millions of other factory farmed pigs’ stories do. It was captured again by the driver and was then transported to a factory where it was slaughtered for human consumption.
A Cold Reality
I think there is a tendency of disconnection in our culture. We disconnect from our empathic emotions all the time and may not even be aware of it, whether it be disconnecting our emotions from a natural disaster story on the news, or disconnecting ourselves from the fact that the bacon on our B.L.T was once a cheery little pig.
I don’t think people are cold or horrible for eating meat, I just think there has been a miseducation, or lack thereof, of the masses with regards to what happens in factory farms. If people were able to see what truly goes on behind closed doors, perhaps they would second guess eating that bacon double cheeseburger.
Thankfully the factory farming industry has become more exposed in recent years, with the advent of such documentaries as “Earthlings” and “Vegecated,” or the short documentary narrated by Alec Baldwin, “Meet Your Meat.” These films reveal a shocking truth which has, for the most part been buried beneath a gluttonous collective conscience.
Most people rarely have the opportunity to interact with these outgoing, sensitive animals because more than 90 percent of pigs in the U.S. today are raised on factory farms. These pigs spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy warehouses under the constant stress of intense confinement and are denied everything that is natural and important to them.
Mother pigs (sows) spend most of their miserable lives in tiny gestation crates that are too small for them to turn around in. They are impregnated again and again until their bodies give out and are then sent to slaughter.
Piglets are torn from their distraught mothers after just a few weeks. Their tails are chopped off, the ends of their teeth are snipped off with pliers, and the males are castrated. No painkillers are given to ease their suffering. The pigs then spend their entire lives in extremely crowded pens on tiny slabs of filthy concrete.
When the time comes for slaughter, pigs are forced onto transport trucks that travel for many miles through all weather extremes. Many die of heat exhaustion in the summer or arrive frozen to the inside of the truck in the winter. According to PETA, more than 1 million pigs die in transport each year, and an additional 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse.
Because of improper stunning methods, many pigs are still conscious when they are dumped into scalding-hot water, which is intended to remove their hair and soften their skin.
Food For Thought
Every animal, whether it be an elephant or a rat, ‘feels’ just like we do. Just like dogs, pigs process emotions such as fear and comfort. Understanding this, we can use this knowing to help us make more informed conscious decisions in our daily lives, a tool that can ultimately save the lives of millions of little living beings like Nina.
Much love <3
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