I am a pig. I am a happy and affectionate animal by nature. I like to play in the grass and raise my young. In the wild, I eat leaves, roots, grass, flowers, and fruits. I have a terrific sense of smell and I am highly intelligent.
I am a pig. I can learn tasks as quickly as chimpanzees and faster than dogs. I roll around in mud to cool down but I am a very clean animal and don’t excrete anywhere near where I live. I speak my own language that you cannot understand. I am often loved as a house mate. I like being in groups and live a long natural life in the wild or a safe home. I enjoy interacting with people and I am very gentle.
I wish I could do and be all of those things but I was born on a factory farm like billions of other pigs and so I experience none of them.
I am a pig. If I could speak I would tell you that I spend my life in a crowded and filthy warehouse in a tiny metal crate. The owners call it a farm so you won’t feel bad for me. It’s not a farm. My life is miserable from the day I’m born until the day I die. In many cases, I live my entire life in a gestation crate where I can’t even turn around. I try to escape but can’t.
I suffer severe emotional and physical ailments as a result of my confinement. I have bruises all over my head and face from trying to get out of my cage. I bang my head against the bars. It is analogous to living in a coffin.
I am a pig. If I could speak I would tell you that I don’t ever feel the warmth of another pig. I only feel the cold metal bars of my cage and the feces that I am forced to sleep in.
I don’t see daylight until a trucker drives me to a slaughterhouse.
I am a pig. I am beaten often by ruthless factory farmers who take pleasure in hearing me squeal. In their own words, “One time I took my knife – it’s sharp enough – and I sliced off the end of a hog’s nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into his nose.”
I am constantly impregnated and do not have any interaction with my piglets. When I was born, I was separated from my mother. In the wild, I would have stayed with her for several months. Now I am forced to have 25 piglets a year through artificial insemination as opposed to six per year I would have in the wild. Being in a constant state of pregnancy is slow torture.
Overcrowding and the smell of being covered in raw sewage causes many of us to go insane and bite each other through our cages. Sometimes we kill each other. It’s not our nature. My home smells of ammonia. I sleep on concrete. I am tied up so I can’t even roll over.
I am a pig. I am bored and have nothing to do so I bite my tail and the tails of others so the factory farmers cut off our tails without any pain killers. It is excruciating and causes infection. When it’s time for us to be killed, we are supposed to be stunned to death with a bolt gun until we can’t feel pain but often the gun is not properly charged or the stunner misses, or we’re too big for it and it fails to work properly. Sometimes we go through the slaughter process sticking, skinning, dismembering, and eviscerating – alive, conscious, and kicking.
I am a pig. If I could speak I would tell you we suffer horribly. Our death is slow and violent torture. It can last as long as 20 minutes. If you saw it happen, you would probably never eat an animal again. That’s why what happens inside factory farms is the best kept secret in the world.
I am a pig. You can dismiss me as a worthless animal. Call me filthy even though I am clean by nature. Say I don’t matter because I taste good to eat. Be indifferent to my suffering. But now you know, I feel pain, sadness, and fear. I suffer. Even though I will be killed and deprived of a humane and natural life, you now know it is wrong and if you continue eating animals like me when you don’t need to eat them to survive, it will be on your conscience and you bear responsibility for the cruelty because you’re funding it by purchasing my remains.
You have a choice to live a more compassionate life. It’s much easier than you think and it is a very fulfilling lifestyle — healthier for you, better for the environment, and most of all, it does not contribute to the abuse of animals. Please give it some thought. I am no more meant to be eaten by you than you are meant to be eaten by me.
The idea of eating me is a human creation for profit not a divine one or one born of necessity but rather choice. If you could choose not to abuse an animal, would you? If the choice of ending cruelty to animals meant making some simple changes in your life, would you make them? Forget about cultural norms. Do what you know is right. Align your compassionate heart and mind with your actions. Please stop eating pork, ham, bacon, sausage and buying other products made from pig body parts such as leather.
I am a pig. I’m begging you to develop the same respect for me that you have for your dog or cat. During the time it took you to read this story, more than 26,000 pigs were brutally slaughtered on factory farms. Simply because you didn’t see it happen doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It did.
I am a pig. I had only one life on this earth. It’s too late for me but it is not too late for you to make a change like millions of other people and save other animals from the life I lived. I hope animals’ lives will begin to mean more to you now – now that you know. I was a pig.
Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a volunteer grassroots animal rights advocate and the organizer of the 2013 Florida March Against Cruelty to Animals. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive Dr. Kirschner’s new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.