BEING VEGAN – If I Were A Pig…
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
“All creatures are deserving of a life free from fear and pain.” Maura Cummings
If I were a pig, I would probably be living a life very different from the one you might have read about in Charlotte’s Web or seen in the movie Babe. Those days are for the most part gone. To be allowed outdoors, somewhat free to frolic with other animals and to even see the sunshine or feel the rain. If I were a pig I would be more than likely taken away from my mother as early as ten days old and thrown into a pen with a bunch of other piglets to be sorted out. This is very scary and I would miss my mother and wonder why they are doing this to me? What did I do, other than be born?
If I were a pig I would be kept with the other little pigs until they decided which would be used for breeding and which would be used for food. Some of the other pigs are so scared they begin to fuss and bite. This makes the
people come and clip off our tails and break off the ends of our teeth with pliers…you can’t imagine how much that hurts! If I was a male pig, they might rip or cut off my testicles so that people won’t complain about how I would taste later on. If I were a pig and allowed to live out my life, I could live to about 15 years old. Yet on these factory farms they will feed me and pump me full of drugs to help me grow as quickly as possible. Once I get to be about 250 lbs. I am considered ready for slaughter. I might only live six months.
If I were a female pig, and used for breeding, in most cases I will be confined to an area so small that I can’t even turn around. We often resort to biting the bars and banging our heads out of frustration. Over and over again we are violated as a worker artificially inseminates us to make us pregnant. Just think for a moment how they get that semen from the male pigs and how they must get it in us. We are turned into baby-making machines over and over again. Before giving birth our nesting urge is so strong but we usually have no straw on the floors below us to deliver our babies. The worst part is that after giving birth to them the humans always take them away from me after what seems like a few days. I cry for them and I hear their cries but it does no good. They will do this over and over again for three or four years until my ability to produce slows down and then my life will end at the slaughterhouse.
If I were a pig, I would have very human-like social skills, feelings and understanding. Our DNA is very close to that of a human. We feel pain just like a human and know of our impending doom. No matter whether we are raised on organic free-range farms or factory farm, we would all make the same trip to the slaughterhouse. None of us would want to get on those transport trucks, even though it is getting us out of the terrible existence that we have been living. Somehow we can tell that what is coming is worse. The workers will use electric prods to shock us into moving onto the trucks. This hurts so much and makes us even more scared. Sometimes this trip to the slaughterhouse is in extreme heat or cold. With no water to drink or food to eat…we are so thirsty and so hungry. We are so scared. Some don’t make it through the trip and die on the way. On the really cold days some get frozen stuck to the sides of the truck and literally have to be ripped off.
If I were a pig, I would hate the smell of the slaughter house. It would smell of blood and death. The cries of terror and pain of other pigs would be more than I could take. When we get there we are greeted with something that is supposed to stun us…an electrical stunner, carbon dioxide gassing or a bolt shot into our heads. We are then shackled upside down and sent down a line where someone stabs open our throats trying to get us to bleed to death before being dunked into the scalding water tanks to remove the hair from our bodies. The problem is that things are moving so fast in the slaughter house that not every one is dead when dunked in the tank. The scalding water is more than we can take and with our last bit of energy we thrash about until someone hits us with something or a mechanical arm comes by to hold us under the water until everything finally goes dark…and we are dead.
If I were a pig, I would want so much more than this. I would love to play freely and be able to socialize with my family and friends. I would like to one day have my own family and watch them grow. I would like to run around in the open air and eat a big lunch and take an afternoon nap. I could be so much more than what so many humans reduce me to be. I am not a thing…I am not a commodity…I am not a piece of flesh to be desired. I am not bacon. I am a living creature which should have the same rights to live freely as you do. But I don’t. Somehow, I know that there are humans out there that are fighting for those rights and are living their lives in such a way so that I might be able to live as well. They are my only hope and maybe one day…if I were a pig…life would be very much different than it is today.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog www.eatingveganinvegas.tumblr.com which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/EatingVeganinVegas.
Paul’s e-book, “Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere” is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.