Life of a Pig
Around 90 per cent of ‘commercial’ pigs in Australia are factory-farmed, and it's hard to imagine what these animals endure in their brief lives. As piglets, they are taken from their mother after being born and then castrated, their tails sliced off, and their teeth clipped. These procedures are all undertaken without anaesthetic. They are then forced to live in over-crowded stalls on concrete floors covered in filth and faeces for the remainder of their lives before being sent to slaughter.
Mother pigs spend their lives secured in sow stalls or farrowing crates, with no opportunity to nuzzle or bond with their babies. When they stop producing babies, they are also sent to slaughter.
The majority of the Australian pork industry utilises artificial insemination for breeding, so at pig semen collection facilities, breeding boars spend their entire lives in stalls which are so tiny that they can’t even turn around, and are only let out to be ‘milked’ for semen. They are often left to die in these stalls without assistance or medical attention. An example of how breeding boars are sometimes treated can be seen in the tragic story of Boe:
Transport and Slaughter
Transport, often the first and only time they’ll see the sun, is another horrific experience with terror, confusion, injuries, exposure to the hot Queensland summer and in some cases, even death. At the slaughterhouse, there's more panic and terror until their very last moment of life. The most common method of stunning pigs prior to slaughter is via a carbon dioxide ‘gas chamber’. This is not humane and inflicts acute pain and suffering on pigs, who have been seen to thrash and fight to escape in the agonising few minutes it can take to render the animals unconscious.
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
• 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
Warning: Some people may find the following distressing. Viewer discretion is advised.
• Watch Lucent – feature-length documentary about the unseen suffering inherent to Australia’s pig-farming industry.