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“If any kid ever realized what was involved in factory farming they would never touch meat again. I was so moved by the intelligence, sense of fun and personalities of the animals I worked with on Babe, that by the end of the film I was a vegetarian.” Cromwell, James – Actor; Farmer Hoggit in ‘Babe’


Pigs are curious and insightful animals thought to have intelligence beyond that of an average 3-year-old human child. They are smarter than dogs and every bit as friendly, loyal, and affectionate. When in their natural surroundings, not on factory farms, they are social, playful, protective animals who bond with each other, make beds, relax in the sun, and cool off in the mud.

Newborn piglets learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and mother pigs sing to their young while nursing. Furthermore pigs are actually very clean animals. If given sufficient space, pigs will be careful not to excrete near where they sleep or eat.

Pigs don’t “sweat like pigs”; they are actually unable to sweat. Pigs like to bathe in water or mud to keep cool. Since most people are not that familiar with pigs, you may be surprised to learn that they dream, recognize their names, play video games more effectively than some primates, and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates.

People who run animal sanctuaries often describe pigs with human characteristics, because they’ve learned that, like humans, pigs enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages.

Pigs form complex social units and learn from one another in ways previously observed exclusively among primates. For example, pigs use clever ploys to try to outsmart each other. Pigs often learn how to follow others to food before snatching it away. Those who are tricked learn to change their behavior in order to reduce the number of times they are deceived. Pigs can develop quite sophisticated social competitive behavior, similar to that seen in some primate species. Source

However pigs on today’s farms are denied their every desire. Sows spend most of their lives in tiny “gestation” crates, which are too small for them to turn around in. They are continually impregnated until they are slaughtered. Piglets are taken away from their distraught mothers after just a few weeks, and 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.

Because of improper stunning methods, many pigs are still alive when they are dumped into scalding-hot water, which is intended to remove their hair and soften their skin. When they’re killed, male pigs are still babies, only about 6 months old. Since their natural life span is 6 to 9 years, they never mature to enjoy a full life.

Intensive piggeries are a type of factory farm specialised in the raising of domestic pigs up to slaughter weight. In this system of production, pigs are housed indoors in group-housing or straw-lined sheds, whilst pregnant sows are confined in sow stalls or gestation crates.

Beyond  the terrible conditions a pig endures during life, it seems there are up to 185 uses for the body of the pig, everything from toothpaste to shampoo…….

pigs2.jpgFemale pigs used for breeding are confined most of their lives in gestation crates which are so small that they cannot even turn around. The pigs’ basic needs are denied, and they experience severe physical and psychological disorders.

Pigs are kept in large stalls with large numbers of pigs per square meter. The temperature is raised which allows the pig to spend less energy on keeping its body heat at the right temperature, so it gets fat quicker, this enabling the growing process to be much more efficient.

The use of sow stalls for pregnant sows has resulted in lower birth production costs however this practice has led to more significant welfare concerns.
The way animals are housed in intensive systems varies. Breeding sows will spend the bulk of their time in sow stalls or gestation crates during pregnancy.
Piglets can be subjected to a range of abuses including castration, tail docking to reduce tail biting, teeth clipping (to reduce injuring their mother’s nipples and later aggressive biting ) and ear notching for litter identification, usually without pain killers. Aggression is a direct result of the stress of confinement and inability to behave naturally. (this will take the form of tail biting, ear biting, vulva biting, food stealing).

Around 1.3 billion pigs are slaughtered annually for meat worldwide. The majority of pigs are reared for meat and a smaller number are kept for breeding. Whilst some pigs are kept free-range and in back yards in many developing countries, at least half of the world’s pig meat is produced from intensive systems.

“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.” Singer, Isaac Bashevic Polish author, Nobel prize, 1978.

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