The Face Behind Your Bacon

Someone shifted the conversation in the locker room from hockey to inquire about my decision to go vegan for the animals over six years ago after being vegetarian for 25 years for health & athletic performance reasons. What the boys didn’t know is that my activism includes close encounters with animals killed for food, such as pigs.

Although I haven’t attended a pig vigil since COVID broke out, I remain impacted the more I learn about these smart, sensitive and sentient beings.

Pigs are naturally clean and meticulous, only getting muddy in order to cool off. But on factory farms, they are forced to live in their own filth in overcrowded and stressful conditions where they breathe in noxious gas from waste and dust.

Pigs are naturally social, show physical affection and interact via a variety of sounds. But on factory farms, they are confined to tiny stalls with thousands of other pigs but without the freedom to interact naturally. It’s worse for mother pigs who are crammed and immobilized in gestation crates that do not even allow them to turn around.

Pigs naturally exercise extensively by grazing, rooting, walking and making nests yet on factory farms, they are kept in small enclosures that prevent their natural behavior.

In nature, mother pigs bond closely with their babies and stay together for months. They even have a special grunt to tell the piglets when it’s time to eat. On factory farms, mother pigs are moved from restrictive gestation crates while pregnant into equally restrictive farrowing crates after giving birth. Within two weeks, their offspring will have their tails cut off, teeth and ears clipped, and males will be castrated – all without pain relief – before being taken away for good.

The pigs that I interact with at vigils are around six months old in the final hours before they are killed to become your bacon, ham, hotdogs and pork products.

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