97% of all farmed pigs in the U.S. are raised on factory farms living the most horrendous existence ending in a most horrific slaughter. When I used to eat pigs they made me fat, led me to a 327 ml/dL cholesterol, high blood pressure, migraines, inflammation, and increased my risk of heart attack and other chronic illnesses including cancer of some kind. With my dad dying of prostate cancer at the age of 58, it’s not a risk I’m willing to take. That said, this blog is about other side of lens…from the pig’s view.
There was a cartoon shared by Dr. Dean Ornish I saw years ago as cows were being ushered up to the slaughterhouse and one cow looked at the other and said, “My only consolation is that by eating us they’re killing themselves.” That is the truth and a sad state of affairs for both sides of the aisle. I never wanted to think about how my food got from the farm to my plate. I can’t believe what I’ve seen since opening up my mind to what I was putting in my body and the horror of what animals go through for me to consume. I turned plant-based initially for athletic performance gains and overall health reasons and now it’s just as much about the animals as it is all the benefits of eating plant-based has thrown my way.
I also never considered why we eat some animals and not others. As Mercy for Animals states, “pigs are sentient beings, who experience joy, loneliness, frustration, fear, and pain just like the animals with whom many of us share our lives.” They also are considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world-even more than dogs… I never thought of eating Domino (my Dalmatian) or Bailey (my Cavalier King Charles) but in some parts of the world people eat dogs. This TV ad in the UK recently released demonstrates the disconnect I had. Nothing brutal in this video – Takeaway the Meat Vegan TV Advert by Viva!
I’ve watched documentaries, other videos, read articles & blogs, listened to podcasts and it’s all been a sad story when coming to these animals’ existence. There are alternatives and now better than ever than harming and consuming these animals. Here I share a bit about the life cycle of a pig with some staggering facts:
- 97% of pigs produced for food are in factory farms
- 60,000 pig factory farms in the U.S. slaughtering 121 million each year
- Pigs natural life span is 15 years vs. 6-7 months in factory farms
- Piglets taken away from their moms between 10 days and 4 weeks vs. 8-12 weeks of weaning in a natural environment
- Male piglets often castrated without anesthesia or pain relief
- Without anesthesia, piglets have notches taken out of their ears for identification and tails severed…the videos demonstrating the pain here are heart wrenching
- The entire breeding process is too sick to list here…yes worse than what I’ve already described…
- Forced to live in unsanitary conditions — in their own feces, urine, vomit and the corpses of other pigs. Some can’t even turn around as the space is so confined without seeing the light of day.
Slaughter – devastating to see pigs squeal and thrash at the sides of the gas chamber trying to escape in pain and horror
- 1 million pigs die en route to slaughter each year
- Workers use electric prods to move pigs up a ramp on to the slaughter house truck for transport
- No laws regulate the duration of transport, frequency of rest, or provision of food and water. I read in one report in freezing conditions some pigs get stuck to the side of the truck and they cut the skin to separate them leaving their skin attached to the truck…can you imagine looking yourself in the mirror after inflicting that kind of pain on a sentient being?
- Because of improper stunning, many are alive when they reach the scalding-hot water baths and throats slashed to bleed out
There are so many more examples I could share but I think that is enough. The cruelty to these animals is simply insane. I can’t believe this wasn’t shared with me when I was growing up. We should all know the process of what we put in our bodies and then make informed decisions. For the sake of the pig’s lives, my health, and protecting the planet, I chose to stop eating pigs along with any other animal and fish. If they can feel pain, I don’t want it to be because of me.
Below are additional resources if you would like to learn more about pig farming. Also PETA and The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine are a couple among several organizations who have great campaigns to fight abuse to animals and unnecessary testing on animals.
– Add Health to Your Life
Pig Farming (Blogs)
- 6 CRUEL WAYS THAT PIGS ARE ABUSED ON FACTORY FARMS
- Pigs: Intelligent Animals Suffering on Farms and in Slaughterhouses
- There’s Nothing “Humane” About Killing Pigs in Gas Chambers
- Pig Transport and Slaughter
- Life of a Pig on a Factory Farm
Pig Farming (Videos – Graphic Warning and I can only share one as it’s a bit much for me. If you want to see more examples simply search in YouTube.)
- Dominion (Full Documentary) – this demonstrates what happens on the inside. The most recent comment from someone who watched it says it – “I approached this documentary with dread as I didn’t want to see it, but knew I had a responsibility to. Thank you for making this- I can only imagine how hard it must have been to be in there witnessing it all first hand. The brutality and exploitation is beyond words, the animals are treated like they’re an object with no capacity for fear and suffering. You can see the dehumanising and violent effect this has on the workers as well. I am completely changing the way I eat based on what you’ve shown me.”
Featured Blog Photo – These are the lucky pigs, Oni and Samsara, saved from horror at Shelter Farm Sanctuary by founder and owner, Jenni Presley. Below them are my dogs who have passed along years ago but are still in my heart, Domino and Bailey. I think we should treat all animals with love and care and who would think that Oni and Samsara are smarter than my two precious hounds.