"I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, but pigs treat us as equals". This statement is attributed to Winston Churchill in the Oxford Dictionary
of Quotations, a marvelous source of all kinds of opinions and statements.
If pigs treat us as equals, we certainly do not treat them in the same way. We treat our pets, our dogs and cats, with some degree of care. We take them out for walks, we provide comfortable baskets with rugs for them to sleep in, we let them roam around and make friends with other dogs and cats. In our modern food factories, one can hardly call them farms, pigs are reared in vast sheds, penned in cages where they have barely enough room to turn around. The sows are kept in the pens for four weeks after giving birth to a litter of piglets, after which the piglets are taken away to be fattened up for slaughter. Meanwhile, the sow is artificially impregnated for the next litter.
Pigs are among the most intelligent and inquisitive of mammals. Their natural habitat is open country or forest and woodland, where they can forage around for food. To regard these creatures as mere cogs in the great meat machine and deprive them whilst they are alive of the means of satisfying any of their natural instincts or comforts is indifference amounting to cruelty.
True, they are fed and watered, and injected with all kinds of antibiotics to ward off disease, but of fresh air and sunlight, green grass and association with other pigs they have no experience.
The least we can do is to scan the packages on the shelves to find the source of the pork, the ham, the bacon or the sausages we intend to buy, and make sure that the
animal has been reared on a free range farm.
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