Life of a Pig
Most of us don’t like to think about what humans force pigs to endure just so people can eat things like ham, pork and bacon. As piglets, they are taken from their mothers, castrated and have their teeth clipped without anaesthetic, in addition to having their tails sliced off. Then they enter the short life of being over-crowded, forced to live on concrete floors in filth, covered in faeces, before being sent to slaughter.
Image credit: Aussie Pigs
Cruelty is rampant.
In 2014, the documentary Lucent brought to light previously unseen suffering filmed across 50 different pig farm around the country, making it clear that abuse, cruelty and torture are systemic across Australia’s pig-farming industry. This type of treatment, typical to the industry, adds additional suffering and woe to an already terrified animal. In 2015, around 500 pigs died from heat stress at a piggery in NSW – and such neglect in the industry is widespread (this instance only came to light due to a whistle-blower).
Female pigs are confined for most of their lives, often unable to even get up from a lying position, let alone turn around or walk around. Their piglets can still reach their bellies to feed, though some are crushed by the mother, who may have just shifted her weight to alleviate the pain from sores such a life creates. Then when their bodies give out, they're sent to slaughter just like all their babies.
Image credit: Aussie Pigs
Transport and Slaughter
Transport, often the first and only time they’ll see the sun, is another horrific experience with terror, confusion, falling over, broken bones or death possible in transit. At the slaughterhouse, there's more panic and squealing and struggling until their very last moment of life. Some pigs are still alive when they're hoisted up by their back legs or cut, or steamed and scalded to remove their hair. So called ‘humane’ slaughter methods such as ‘gas chambers’ are evidenced in Lucent as creating further terror for the pig’s final moments as they desperately try to escape.
Lives not Lived
The natural lifespan of a pig is 10-12 years; the typical age for slaughter is 5-6 months. When allowed to live without torment, pigs snuggle, they dream, they sing to their young, and have the intelligence of a 3-year-old child. Just like dogs, they are social, smart creatures. Pigs are clean animals who, in natural conditions, love bathing in water or mud and are careful not to soil areas where they eat or sleep. Yet they are never able to express any of these natural, social behaviours.
What are we doing?
• Raising awareness of the issues
• Organising screenings of Lucent, including the launch at Event Cinemas in Brisbane in 2014
• Investigating and documenting reports of animal cruelty in Queensland
• Working with a number of other animal rights groups to conduct ground-breaking investigations and public awareness campaigns to expose the true cost of pig farming to the public
What can you do?
• Consider going vegan, a way of life that tries to avoid animal exploitation and suffering
• Don’t consume pork, ham, bacon or other pig products
• Write to your local leaders and politicians about cruelty and conditions of pig farms
• Write to supermarkets and fast food chains about the cruelty of pig farming and gestation crates, and ask them to stop stocking cruel products
• Talk to people about how pigs suffer for human enjoyment – spread the word
Find out more
• Aussie Pigs – Australian Pig Farming: The Inside Story
• Watch Lucent – feature-length documentary about the unseen suffering inherent to Australia’s pig-farming industry.
Warning: some people may find the film distressing. Viewer discretion is advised.