The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the
way its animals are treated. - Gandhi
sweet sign at entrance of PIGS
I've always loved animals. As a young girl on my grandparents' farm, I would sit on the edge of the fence and tell the cows "super cow" stories while they chewed cud and stared at me in confusion. Since 1999 I've been a vegetarian, now dabbling in veganism, and continually strive to choose compassion and live my favorite mantra, lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.
In October 2010, I made my way to PIGS Animal Sanctuary in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and fell in love with a piglet named Walter. He fell off a transport truck in North Carolina - a sad fate for many piglets stuffed into unsafe transport - and was relocated to PIGS.
Falling in love with Walter the Piglet, Oct 2010
Since becoming smitten with Walter I love hosting events to benefit the animals and learning all I can to help stop the unnecessary suffering of these beautiful beings. In 2011 I attended Farm Sanctuary's Animal Care Conference and End Factory Farming Conference. My life was forever changed. The toll factory farms take on the environment, our health, and animals is horrifying.
A factory farm is defined by Farm Sanctuary as "an attitude that regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit. In animal agriculture, this attitude has led to institutionalized animal cruelty, massive environmental destruction and resource depletion, and animal and human health risks." Sadly, 10 billion animals are slaughtered each year in the US for food.
Walter enjoying mud pits and sunshine
- Hog Farms: As piglets, they are taken away from their mothers when they are less than 1 month old; their tails are cut off, some of their teeth are cut off, and the males have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums (castration), all without any pain relief. They spend their entire lives in overcrowded pens on a tiny slab of filthy concrete. more than 170,000 pigs die in transport each year, and more than 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse.2 Many are still fully conscious when they are immersed in scalding water for hair removal.
- Breeding Sows: Breeding sows spend their entire lives in tiny metal crates so they cannot turn around. Shortly after giving birth, they are once again forcibly impregnated. This cycle continues for years until their bodies finally gives up and they are sent to be killed.
3 favorites: Tim the beau, Louis the pug, Walter the pig
Here's how you can help end the suffering:
1. Support sanctuaries such as Farm Sanctuary
4. Choose cruelty free living sans animal products
5. Try Meatless Mondays
6. Get vegucated
8. Educate yourself on the issues
May all beings have the chance to shine in their natural environment.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead