Why this little piggy has made a choice.

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pigI eat pork. I eat bacon. I eat steak, chicken, and I eat lamb. I have never ever associated the meat I eat with an animal. Call it naive, silly, whatever, but it’s true.
Until now.

On Sunday night I watched the 60 minutes story about pig farms and the atrocious conditions in which these animals are kept.

Close to tears and watching the disturbing pictures, I realised that by eating the pork, the bacon and the ham that we do, we are not only condoning these hideous pig farms, we’re also financially supporting it.

Instantly my husband and I made a decision to not eat it at all, or to source out organic or RSPCA approved products from pigs, from farms where they have been humanely treated.

It was quite rightly pointed out in the story that if someone were to treat say a dog how these pigs are being treated, they would be charged and prosecuted no questions asked. So why does this not apply to all animals? Is it because pigs are a food source and dogs are not? I don’t know. But whatever the answer is, it’s wrong. No animal should be treated this way.

The only way to fight this horrible practice that occurs on these pig farms is for the consumer, YOU, to make an educated choice. Clearly the Australian Pork association has been useless in keeping an eye on these practices, one, because a director of this company was one of the worst offenders with his pig farm treating his animals appalling, and two, because according to Andrew Spencer CEO of Australian Pork, the pigs apparently liked being shoved in a sow stall with only a centimeter of room on each side. Pfft. Give me a break Mr Spencer. How about we shove you in a stall with 2cm of room and see how you like it.

Here’s an excerpt from the 60 minutes story transcript. It starts after Mr Spencer was shown images of the filthy pig farm run by one of it’s Director’s.

ANDREW SPENCER, CEO AUSTRALIAN PORK: That’s an old shed. It’s filthy, doesn’t look good and I can imagine people seeing that and being a bit revolted by that.

LIAM BARTLETT: A bit revolted?

ANDREW SPENCER: However, look at the pigs. Those pigs were in fantastic condition.

LIAM BARTLETT: We showed the pictures to Andrew Spencer, chief executive of the Australian pork industry. He argues the alternative to sow stalls is much worse – sows on the loose, fighting, and he gave us his pictures to prove his point.

ANDREW SPENCER: They’re trying to run through each other’s ribs at 20km/h. That does bad things to pigs. That is an unacceptable welfare situation.

LIAM BARTLETT: So, you are completely happy with the welfare of those pigs in those pictures?

ANDREW SPENCER: No. I’m disgusted with the filth in that piggery, let’s make it absolutely clear. But I have seen the pigs and what’s important to me, and what’s important in a welfare discussion, is what is the state of those pigs. They look good.

LIAM BARTLETT: It turns out that a shareholder and director of the company operating that filthy piggery is Dr Ian Parish, who also sits on the board running the pork industry. Dr Parish declined our request for an interview. So the industry, the pork industry, is run by people who are happy to keep their animals in that sort of condition?

ANDREW SPENCER: No, and I think that’s a pretty unfair extrapolation. You’ve got an activist who’s gone into one piggery because their ultimate objective is a vegetarian one for our society, they want us out of business, so they will do anything that they can to do that.

LIAM BARTLETT: But when we asked to see conditions at any piggery in the country, we were told ‘no’. Instead, the industry provided footage of the Queensland University piggery and said research showed pregnant sows were actually happier in stalls.

ANDREW SPENCER: It’s a big, pregnant animal that’s not looking to frolic around. It wants to eat and sleep – that’s pig heaven. Sow stalls are good for sows, the research shows it.
Remember the backlash when the public found out how chicken’s were being kept, and it forced egg cartons to state if the eggs were from caged or free range chickens? Now tell me how many of you would willingly buy caged eggs now? I certainly do not. So why should it be any different when it comes, pork, or ham or bacon.

The RSPCA has released a list of RSPCA approved farms you can check out the list HERE.

You can read the full 60 minutes transcript or watch the story HERE.

So if you make no other choices or changes to your life except choosing to buy happy pig, then it’s a choice well bloody made. As much as I hate the term people power unfortunately without it these innocent animals will continue to suffer.

3 Comments
  • Ben
    November 24, 2009

    Good on you Ami and John. Its a difficult choice to make when crispy bacon etc is so yummy but its worth it. Look out for organic bacon and pork. Its hard to find but you can get it if you look. It is more expensive but you can eat as a treat less often. I didnt see the show but its funny that we were discussing it over brekky on saturday.

  • verna
    November 24, 2009

    Thanks for posting this. I hope many people take up your lead and not buy pork unless they are sure it is free range. Just for the record RSPCA approved pork is only ‘bred free range’. This means the piglets are born outside and then don’t see the light of day until taken for slaughter. It is a deceptive term and although an improvement on sow stalls I think we can do better.

  • Ian Streeter
    November 24, 2009

    Well done, and verna’s on the money too. Don’t be taken in by the bred free range thang.

    Also, when out for breakfast, ask if the bacon is free range or organic. The reply “I think so” probably means no. But if enough people ask and indicate they’d pay more for it, hopefully cafes and restaurants will get the message.

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