Sweet sign at entrance of PIGS
I’ve always loved animals. As a young girl on my grandparents farm, I would sit on the edge of the fence and tell the cows “super cow” stories while they chewed cud and stared at me in confusion. Since 1999 I’ve been a vegetarian, now dabbling in veganism, and continually strive to choose compassion and live my favorite mantra, lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. In October 2010, I made my way to PIGS Animal Sanctuary in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and fell in love with a piglet named Walter. He fell off a transport truck in North Carolina – a sad fate for many piglets stuffed into unsafe transport – and was relocated to PIGS.
Falling in love with Walter the Piglet, Oct 2010
Walter enjoying mud pits and sunshine
According to animalsuffering.com, pigs are our closest relatives at the factory farm. Many never see the daylight, others are used as living breeding machines. Pigs are born and raised inside buildings that have automated water, feed and waste removal. Dust, dirt and toxic gases from the pigs’ waste create an unsanitary environment that encourages the onset of a number of diseases and illnesses, including pneumonia, cholera, dysentery and trichinosis.
- Hog Farms: As piglets, they are taken away from their mothers when they are less than 1 month old; their tails are cut off, some of their teeth are cut off, and the males have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums (castration), all without any pain relief. They spend their entire lives in overcrowded pens on a tiny slab of filthy concrete. more than 170,000 pigs die in transport each year, and more than 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse.2 Many are still fully conscious when they are immersed in scalding water for hair removal.
- Breeding Sows: Breeding sows spend their entire lives in tiny metal crates so they cannot turn around. Shortly after giving birth, they are once again forcibly impregnated. This cycle continues for years until their bodies finally gives up and they are sent to be killed.
3 favorites: Tim the beau, Louis the pug, Walter the pig