This is the final segment of my series about farm animals, I recently spent a month living and working on a vegan farm in Daybroro called Farm Animal Rescue. The farm rescues animals from the meat and dairy industry and the animals live the rest of their lives at the farm, surrounded by other animals and loved by the owners and volunteers that work there. You can check out my previous posts about chickens, goats, cows and sheep.
I’ve saved the last slot for my favourite animals on the farm – the pigs! Now I know you shouldn’t have favourites but these guys were amazing and I loved getting to know them. Pigs are as smart as a three year old child and much smarter than cats and dogs, they are very sociable animals with many behaviours similar to ours. In fact we share 98% of the same DNA as them!There were 7 pigs in total on the farm. Portia, Kane, Heather, Thomas, Moby, Heather and Ellen. They were all equally gorgeous but all had very different personalities. Portia had decided that she wanted to live near our house, I’m sure this was a cunning plan on her part because she was spoilt rotten by the volunteers at the farm. You couldn’t walk past her without talking to her and giving her belly rubs! Portia even had her own little house built, affectionately refered to as Portia’s Palace. She would lie there in the mud while we bought her food and water and rubbed suncream on her when it was sunny! I think it’s safe to say she had us wrapped around her little finger or shall I say trotter!Kane also decided that he didn’t want to live with the other pigs, instead taking himself off down to the cows paddocks, where he had his own mancave, dams to paddle in and woods to explore! What a life! We also took him his food three times a day. My favourite time of day was in the morning when I would go and give Kane his breakfast. It’s so peaceful down in the paddocks, the sun is shining, it’s a lovely walk down there and it was a really nice start to the day. Plus Kane would always put a smile on my face because he gets so excited to see you…well his breakfast! I would love sitting with him in the morning, just looking out onto the fields, with the sun coming up and Kane fast asleep next to me after he’d gobbled down his breakfast!The pigs at the farm have rivers to wade in, mudholes to lie in, woods to forage in, fans to keep them cool and lots of space to roam around. They are also free to choose where on the farm they would like to live. All of the pigs were factory rescues and would have led awful lives in the industry if they hadn’t been saved.Pigs are bred for meat, yep your bacon, chops, sausages etc, around 10 million pigs are slaughtered every year in the UK. 10 million just in the UK – that’s more than the population of London itself! 10 million pigs a year works out at 3 pigs a second! THREE A SECOND!
As with all baby animals that are born in the meat and dairy industry, we humans decide to start chopping bits off of them “Around 80% of piglets in the UK have their tails docked. These piglets are held by their back leg or around the hips while a heated blade or pliers are used to remove their tails. If conducted before seven days of age, this process can be carried out without anaesthetic” – source Veganuary.com (check it out, it’s a great website!)
Sadly most of the pigs at the farm where I stayed have scars from their past, with chunks missing from their ears and chopped off tails. It’s so sad to think that we feel that chopping body parts off of animals is acceptable – it’s not.
In Australia and many other countries when a female pig is due to give birth she is moved to a sow crate. These crates are a narrow metal prison, just a little bigger than her body with a slatted floor beneath her. Pigs are intelligent animals and a mother pigs instinct to build a nest is so strong that she becomes highly frustrated in the hours before giving birth. The expectant mother isn’t provided with any bedding so when her babies are born they are born onto the hard slatted floor, some of the babies legs fall into the slats getting broken soon after birth.
A mothers instinct is strong, in all animals and pigs are no different. Mother pigs in sow crates are unable to nurture and interact with their young as a metal frame separates them. She simply lies there while the babies feed from here through the bars. The babies will be taken away from the mother at roughly 3 weeks old. It is common for them to cry out to one another when this happens and for some time after. Like all female animals in the food industry, this cycle of pregnancy and separation is repeated until the sow’s reproductive system is exhausted and her body can no longer endure this strain. Deemed ‘spent’ by the farmers, she will be killed to produce low quality products like pork pies and sausages. You’ll be pleased to hear that sow crates are illegal in the UK under EU regulations (don’t go getting all excited there are rumours that this could all change once Brexit takes full effect) but are still legal and commonly used in Australia. Nice one Australia!
Luckily the pigs that I was looking after on the farm all have amazing lives, a far cry from the life they would have led. These wonderful animals are amazing to be around, they get excited when they see you and after being around them for a while you can start to recognise their different grunts. When they are excited to see you they greet you by opening their mouths up wide and grunting excitedly! If you do it back they copy you, it’s the sweetest thing!
Sadly the pigs at the farm suffer with their mobility. These animals are so huge, nearly 300kg, they are bred to get big quickly and then they would be slaughtered at 3-6 months old, so the ones on the farm can suffer on their feet a little. Pigs would usually live up to 15 years old!
The pigs also get fed 4 times a day, one of their feeds is fresh fruit which they love! They hold they’re mouths open while you put the chunks of fruit in, they sure know the routine!
I loved working with and getting to know these beautiful animals, they all had such different personalities and it was great to spend time with them. These are such intelligent animals that sadly suffer at the hands of humans, just so that people can eat their bacon rolls and sausage sandwiches…it’s awful. So next time you fancy a bacon buttie or a hotdog instead of thinking of this
…think of this
THIS is the real face of bacon. The photo above is from 2015 and taken in the UK. Piglets are crammed into wire cages, stacked three high. This photo was taken at a farm in the UK, a farm which supplies meat to Morrisons and is ‘red tractor’ approved.
You can read more about the facts about farmed pigs in the UK here or watch the video below
We owe it to these beautiful animals to speak up for them and to open our eyes to the cruel lives that they suffer just so we can eat them! There is so excuse for it. If you are an animal lover you need to wake up to this because burying your head in the sand doesn’t stop the cruelty from happening, it just stops it from ruining your day or making you feel sad.
I’ll be honest I have found these segments difficult to write, I hate having to google the factory farming images because they break my heart, believe me, there are awful images on google, worse than the ones I’ve included in this post. As much as I hate seeing the images I feel it’s important to share them. I feel that people need to see this and find out the truth about what is happening to the animals in the meat and dairy industry. You can’t love animals and eat them too – sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. Being vegetarian or vegan may seem like a massive jump to some people but these days it’s so easy, there are so many alternatives out there and you will feel safe in the knowledge that you aren’t contributing to this cruelty anymore!
The average UK meateater will eat 10,252 animals in their lifetime (this statistic is of a person of 80 years old) That’s roughly…
3275 shell fish
…….imagine you were in a field surrounded by those animals. Would you harm them yourself? If the answer is NO why are you paying someone else to do it for you?
For up to date facts about the UK farming standards please visit http://www.viva.org.uk/
If you have questions about this subject, veganism or about my time on the farm please leave a comment below.
The website for the farm is here http://www.farmanimalrescue.org.au/ it’s located in Dayboro, Queensland. They offer an intern scheme where you can stay at the farm for a month and volunteer. If you interested in knowing more about veganism there are great documentaries on Netflix including, Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, Food for Thought and Veducated. They are all worth a watch!
Please like and share this post to raise more awareness for the poor animals that are suffering in the meat and dairy industry.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post containing a video of my ‘Day in the Life’ at the farm! Cute animal overload!