As I think about the possibility of another intensive piggery being built, I am overwhelmed with memories from my experiences inside Australian piggeries. The conditions these 25,000 pigs face are a stark contrast to how pigs should be living. While reminiscing of Bubbles living happily and freely at Where Pigs Fly, I ask with a heavy heart that you to object the Blantyre Farms development proposal.
Where Pigs Fly Sanctuary
A couple of years ago a group of activists went to Where Pigs Fly to spend time with happy, liberated animals who are living in blissful freedom. I was dying to meet their newest resident, Bubbles, an adorable piglet. Bubbles had a truly miraculous rescue story. When she was just a tiny newborn piglet, a couple of vegans found her on the side of the road and took her home to the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. They rang around and luckily found Debbie and Jamie at Where Pigs Fly, who offered her a beautiful forever home.
As we entered the property, there she was. A dear little person rushing hither and yon. Sniffing and scarpering. All of us wanting to scoop Bubbles up and hold her to us. An important requirement to be a sanctuary owner is the ability to step back and respect the animals needs, rather than giving in to the impulse of giving constant cuddles and kisses. I can happily share with you we were given permission by a very watchful Debbie, when she felt Bubbles could cope with our gushes, snuggles, and adoration.
His dear little snout. In the wild he would use it to root around and discover things. Pigs do not have the best eyesight and depend on their snouts to guide them. Snouts are where the highest density of tactile receptors are found and a pig’s sense of smell is about 2000 times more sensitive than human’s.
Pigs have no sweat glands, which is why they enjoy rolling in the mud in warmer weather. They are the smartest “domestic animal”, have an astonishing memory, can work out intricate puzzles, and need regular stimulus. They are very social and family-orientated animals, who grunt to confer with other pigs on various subjects.
We spent time meeting other rescued residents. There are rescued pigs, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, donkeys, cows, bulls, roosters, turkeys, and sheep. The property is lush with ancient trees providing shelter. Dams abound and a sense of serenity, safety, and freedom. It filled all our of hearts to see the love visited to each animal and every need of theirs provided.
It takes a unique person to run a rescued animal sanctuary. All of us in our hearts would yearn to do this, but the reality is it is unrelenting hard work and very expensive. Fences need to be maintained, bedding must be changed every night for each resident, food has to be hauled around and clean water provided, and of course, the expensive vet bills. Ensuring all residents get along and tending to those who might become injured or unwell. Lastly, the all-important, being able to say no to calls to take in animals when the inn is full. Emotionally it is so difficult to turn away a single animal needing a forever home, but being aware that you can only provide the best care for a limited number of animals. This is not for the faint-hearted. We respect and admire the work done by all farm rescue sanctuaries.
Bear this in mind and then enter an intensive piggery.
The odour can be smelled from several kilometres away in certain weather conditions. And the sound – like Dante’s Inferno. The screaming, like a wall rising up and hitting you. Every aspect of pig factories assaults your mind. You simply cannot believe these hell holes are legal. They are among the worst aspects of greed and human depravity.
The only way you can cope with an overload of heartache and despair is to temporarily inwardly “remove yourself.” To note what you are seeing and hearing, do what you can to help, and fall to pieces when you leave.
As you know, pigs need stimulus and freedom. In the wild, mothers build nest for her young. Despite popular belief, they are scrupulously clean and do their ablutions far away from their bedding. But in Hades, all hope is lost.
Sows are painted with numbers and scarred. Their ears, teeth, and tails, were cut without anaesthesia when they were piglets. They exist on cold concrete and metal floors, trapped so they cannot move forward or backwards. They can barely stand up given their genetically altered bulk. They piss and shit where they eat because they are given no option. They chew bars and foam at the mouth, because they are literally going crazy with grief, frustration and boredom. The mothers cannot even nurture their babies. These beautiful animals who are among the finest of mothers are deprived of every single need.
The single distraction in their long, long days is when the automated food chute comes around. They start to grunt as they are torn from their deadening, depressed sleep. The grunting becomes screaming. All around sows struggle to rise. They slip in their waste. Soon the sheds are one high pitched scream. The slop is dropped onto the crap and piss. The starving pigs spend approximately two minutes eating every single drop. And then they subside into their depression and defeat.
This is their existence. Day after day. Hour after hour. Minute after minute.
The obliteration of human compassion, empathy, and kindness is to be found in these places. The pork industry continues its lies to the public. They make claims that they are protecting piglets by keeping the mothers in stalls, unable to move. What do they think happens to pigs in the wild? They thrive, have large families, and no piglets get crushed. They mutilate baby animals – only for the expediency of the piggeries. Not a whit of care for the animals.
When I hear that farmers “love their animals” I am filled with disgust. Saying something does not make it so and only makes their exploitation of them the more obscene.
Boars are masturbated by humans and the females are raped – something that would be jailable and reviled outside of animal exploitation industries, but in intensive factories, this is “normal”. Every single aspect of their lives are desecrated. And at the end when death should come as deliverance from an unendurable existence comes more terror and utter agony.
As they enter the slaughterhouse they smell the blood of their fellows. They hear their screams and panic as there is no way out for them. The workers kick, drag, and jab them with electric prods, forcing them inside the gas chambers. Every single one of them struggles for life. Footage from inside the gas chambers shows them scrabble to get footing on the sides of the chambers as carbon dioxide concentrate fills their sensitive snouts and lungs. The agony caused by the gas goes on and on and on – and for what? Cheap pig flesh, which is bad for human health and the factories are noxious to soil and waterways.
To hold little Bubbles was to have dichotomous emotions. To feel his warmth, look into his intelligent eyes, laugh at his mischief and running over grass and interact with other animals is to have your heart filled with happiness. And then you close your eyes and remember the majority of pigs in this country are literally going crazy with unrelenting suffering.
Please, help us to prevent another one of these netherworlds. Click here to send in an objection submission.