Friday, August 8, 2008
So now that you've decided to stop eating nasty processed meats, I'd like to introduce you to three young mothers who have endured a lot in their young lives: Mango, Rosebud and Mabel.
Farm Sanctuary rescued these three pigs and dozens others from Iowa after the Mississippi River flooded earlier this summer. Mango, Rosebud and Mabel were among at least 10 pigs who were in the midst of late-term pregnancies. This Farm Sanctuary blog tracks the rescues and the births.
What struck me as I viewed the photos of the infant piglets nursing on their mothers is how similar the pigs' teats (is that the proper term?) look to a woman's breasts. I don't mean this in a vulgar, offensive way at all. I find it remarkable how human animals are similarly constructed to nonhuman animals. For example, if I were to get down on my hands and knees, my body parts are, for the most part, in the same place as a female dog's are.
Some people may find this kind of talk degrading or perverse (even my boyfriend didn't like this post). But I don't mean it that way. If people take some time to think about the similarities that exist between us, instead of the differences, they're more likely to behave compassionately toward other animals.
For those of you who are mothers, look at these pictures. Does your mind go back to when you gave birth to your tiny bundle of joy or to what it felt like to have your baby nurse? Do you remember the bond you felt?
Of course, I don't know what goes through a pig's head as she gives birth or allows her babies to nurse. But I have to think that she feels more comfortable being able to stretch out on a bed of hay and have her babies close to her than she would have, had she remained on that Iowa farm -- in a building with a cement floor, in a farrowing crate with bars between her and her babies.
Unfortunately, gestation crates and then farrowing crates and then eventual slaughter are the norm for pigs raised for meat.