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November 4, 2010 / amyjmcintosh

Pig farming


I have made a Pro Pig Pledge. This means I have vowed never to buy factory-farmed pork, ham or bacon ever again. That’s right, no more tortured pigs for me.

Pigs

Miniature piglets at pig-friendly Pennywell Farm in the UK

Until recently, I was ignorant of the plight of pigs in this country. Like many Australians, I jumped on the free-range chicken bandwagon a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. But what about the humble pig? Have you ever thought about how pork gets on your fork?

Daisy the piglet (image sourced from Animals Australia)

Any ham, bacon or pork products which are not labelled

It wasn’t until I watched Australian Story‘s documentary about animal advocate, Jan Cameron, that I learnt about the horrific pain and suffering that pigs endure in factory farms. It was so upsetting and confronting that I will never look at pork in the same way again.

As well as being one of Australia’s wealthiest women, Jan Cameron is the force behind national animal protection organisation, Animals Australia. Their campaign, Save Babe, is helping raise awareness of the morbid practise of imprisoning female breeding pigs (sows) in sow stalls.

According to Animals Australia, the sow stall was introduced to enable individual monitoring of pigs, to reduce competition during feeding and to house a higher density of animals within a single shed. These pig prisons have been banned in Britain for welfare reasons and are being phased out in the European Union.

A tortured sow (image sourced from Animals Australia)

A tortured sow (image sourced from Animals Australia)

Female pigs can be confined in these tiny single crates not much bigger than the size of their bodies for their entire four-month pregnancy. At best they can take a small step forward. They have no bedding and are forced to stand or lie on hard floors. When piglets are born, the design of the crate denies the sows appropriate and full physical contact with their mother.

Sow crates (image sourced from Animals Australia)

Sow crates (image sourced from Animals Australia)

The ability of these intelligent and sensitive animals to suffer is no different to the family dog. Despite this, Australian governments have provided legal exceptions to pig farmers to prevent them from being prosecuted for animal cruelty so that they can maximise their profits. Read more about Australia’s pig code of practice on the Voiceless website.

Happy piglets

This is how pigs should be treated.

If you care about animals, I encourage you to find an organic butcher and purchase pig-friendly pork, ham and bacon. If you live near Bondi, I can highly recommend Sam the Butcher for top-quality organic meat. Refuse to support animal cruelty and take the Pro Pig Pledge today. Check out the Voiceless action sheet on how you can help pigs.

14 Comments

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  1. The Kitchenette / Nov 4 2010 10:27 pm

    oh why did you have to go publish a picture of adorable piglets? Now pigs will be added to my list of “Animals I Hope to Have One Day That Will Be Excellent Sources of Food But That I Probably Will Name and Get Attached To Instead.”

    Damn.

    But you are right, I definitely should pay more attention to what I am buying. Good call.

  2. Hello / Feb 17 2011 9:50 am

    hey, i think these pictures are extra cuteeee… i just want to hug them 🙂
    keep up the good work

    • amyjmcintosh / Feb 17 2011 11:42 am

      Thanks for your comments, Jake. I hope I’ve encouraged you not to eat factory-farmed pork from now on. 🙂

      • Jake Sadler / Feb 25 2011 5:30 pm

        Thanks for changing my mind, its amazing what you do keep up the work 🙂 xx

  3. tori / Mar 7 2011 9:50 am

    pigs are my favorite animal EVER. cooties to u for protecting them, if they became extinct i would die

    • amyjmcintosh / Mar 7 2011 1:52 pm

      Thanks Tori. They are such beautiful and intelligent animals. It breaks my heart to think they are treated so poorly.

  4. PDETA / Apr 20 2011 6:22 am

    why would you eat any animals for that matter?

    pdeta.blogspot.com

  5. hi / Apr 23 2011 10:44 am

    the pigs are soo cute they are also my fav. animal:)

  6. Roxana / Apr 28 2011 2:02 pm

    America might be the worst country when it comes to factory farmed piggies and I know know it’s not our biggest problem but it makes me sick (literally sick and nauseous) and extremely embarrassed to know that these despicable practices are so common place. Keep up the work and keep spreading the word–ignorance should be no excuse for inadvertent support of these horrors, so it’s up to all of us to educate others.

  7. the Jack / May 31 2011 2:43 pm

    I can’t take your pro-pig pledge… because I stopped eating tortured pigs over 15 years ago, long before humanely-raised pork was available anywhere but directly from a handful of isolated farms, or DIY. I still mostly avoid eating any pork at all, thanks in part to a Halal pizza parlour opening up near me that can satisfy my occasional craving for the Italian comfort foods of my youth. They carry amazingly convincing pepperoni, ham, bacon — and even hard salami. Not much help to those who avoid eating beef or turkey for whatever reasons, humane or otherwise, but a ‘godsend’ for me!

    The only thing I still haven’t found a good way to satisfy occasional cravings for is natural-casing hot dogs. When I do buy actual pork that’s been humanely raised to a standard I consider acceptable (higher than organic certification or Humane Society certification require) it’s mostly to share with unrepentant pork-eaters in my life, and to support the farmers who are doing it right.

    Nice to come across someone with similar beliefs! I’ve taken a lot of guff from family and friends over the years for not being willing to just eat the same thing as everyone else when that thing comes from factory-farmed pigs.

    • amyjmcintosh / May 31 2011 7:36 pm

      Thanks for your message, Jackabug. I think it’s fantastic that you’ve been committed to pig welfare for over 15 years. You must be a real trailblazer to have been aware of factory-farmed pigs all that time ago. I only wish I cottoned onto the cruelty that pigs endure at factory farms earlier on. Be sure to check out Animals Australia and Voiceless – two amazing animal welfare organisations that are doing some wonderful work in getting the word out there.

  8. Jaime / Sep 8 2011 12:17 pm

    My name is Jaime.. I show hogs at the County, State, and National level over here in America. I know there is a big push for organic food and animal rights but I want to let you in on a few secrets! Not all farms are bad places, some people really care for there animals, if your not familiar with animals and farms and you walked into a hog barn, you would think it was a discusting and unsanitary place. Though when I have hogs I clean out the barn daily when I go in there will be manure on the ground, in feed pails and on the animals, even though the area looks dirty its really not, and yes the animals will get things like worms but if you care for your stock you will give them medication.(a lot of the people who push for organic foods are opposed to medication). Next ferrowing crates may seem harsh to the average person and yes there are alternatives but, I would like to tell you that the crates actually protect the piglets after being born, sows (mother hogs) will step on there babies, roll on them, and crush them with out the limited movement. also I would love to know what you mean about a organic butcher? and when you said purchase pig-friendly pork, ham and bacon(ham and bacon are pork:) ill leave with this, please understand what I am saying I have been raised around farms and the pork industry and while I am not fighting for the production farms I am fighting for the name and reputation of the smaller pork producers! You need to spend a day on a farm with a farmer who cares before setting up groups and getting angry. Hope I didn’t offend anyone I am just a 16 year old girl with a love for agriculture and farming and I don’t want it ever to have a bad name!

    • amyjmcintosh / Sep 8 2011 12:24 pm

      Hi Jaime,

      Thanks very much for your comment. It’s great to hear from someone who cares for pigs. I agree with you that not all pig farming is bad, and there’s some brilliant farmers out there who are doing their part to increase the quality of life of pigs.

      My blog post refers to specifically to factory farming in Australia. This report explains it in more detail – http://www.voiceless.org.au/The_Issues/Factory_Farming/Pig_Industry_Report.html

      Amy

  9. PaulYork / Oct 8 2011 6:27 am

    This Pro Pig Pledge still condones the murder of fellow sentient Earthlings. Consider veganism instead. It is far healthier and far far more ethical. It really is pro-pig.

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