Today’s post is going to be all about the life of a farmed pig. In the UK alone, 9 million piglets are born for meat production and for many of them, their life won’t be how they’d ever imagined.
The natural life of a pig.
Pigs are known to be very similar to dogs. They enjoy to play in a very similar way to them and are actually more intelligent than them. In fact. they’re the 5th most intelligent animal in the world.
If domesticated, pigs can live till they’re around 15 – 20 years old and weigh around 110 – 170lbs. This isn’t the case when raised for meat or breeding.
Due to the intelligence of pigs, it’s a legal requirement that farmers who do house them must have a form of enrichment available. This can be anything from a football to play with to straw to root through (after all, it’s what their snouts are for).
When a piglet is born, it’s able to wean from it’s mother for 21 days before being taken away. This is mainly so that the sow is able to become impregnated again, to carry on the production for the farmer.
After being born, many piglets have their tails cut off and much of the time, this is without anaesthetic.
After being weaned from their mother, the piglets will be factory farmed. This is when they’re crated in windowless barns, being fed as much food as possible to fatten them up as quickly as they can.
The little space they have causes many pigs to become emotionally depressed. They may also become ill or lame, causing them to be killed due to providing no use. There’ll be more on the illnesses they can get later.
If being raised for pork, many of the pigs crammed into the small spaces are fed between 6 – 10lbs of food a day. This is also packed with supplements and antibiotics.
In terms of farming, half of the antibiotics used are within pig farming. This is mainly due to the crammed and filthy living conditions they’re within.
98% of pigs in the UK are fattened within sheds, with 93% living indoors. Now that’s really not a life to live is it?
The only aim for a pork farmer is fattening up the pigs in as short a space of time as possible. As I mentioned before, a domesticated pig would live to be around 15 years old and weigh around 110lbs. For pigs sent to slaughter, they’ll be around 5 – 6 months old and weigh approximately 240lbs. Quite a difference.
More on pig farming can be read here: Pig Farming, The Inside Story
Worldwide 1.3 billion pigs are killed for meat production a year. For 89% of these pigs, they’ll be put a few at a time into chambers and then gassed with co2 – now if that doesn’t scream concentration camp, then I don’t know what else does?
When gassed, it takes approximately 30 seconds for them to die and during this 30 seconds, they’ll squeal, hyperventilate and try to escape from the room itself.
After being killed by the gas, the carcass will then be bled out before making its way to the butchers.
For many sows and also a few boar, pro-creating is their only aim in life. It’s at around 170 days old (6 months), that a sow is able to become pregnant. Farmers will either force them to mate with boars or impregnate them artificially, after getting the sperm from the boar in question.
A sow will be pregnant for around 4 months before giving birth. A few days before the due date, they’ll be put into a farrowing crate. This is a metal cage where they’ll be isolated from others until they’ve given birth and their offspring have been weaned for 21 days.
After this time, the sow’s will be put back into concrete pens, away from the pigs who are raised for meat production. You can read more about this here: The farrowing crate.
After giving birth around 7 times, the sows will be sent to slaughter due to no longer being ‘of use’ to the farmer. For many boars, their sperm will be used throughout 2 years of it’s life and then too, the pig will be sent to slaughter.
Pigs are just like us.
I just wanted to do a little section about pigs being very similar to humans. I mean, obviously they don’t look the same or sound the same but medically, they’re used for many heart valve replacements. There’s also a lot of research into organ donations between humans and pigs. You can see more on this here: Scientists achieve breakthrough.
The reason pigs are used is due to them being the best non-human candidate. Does this not make you think about how similar they must be? If a pig’s willing to save your life, why not think about saving one of theirs?
Swap: Richmond Sausages vs. Linda McCartney.
Richmond Thick Sausages per 100g
Saturated fat: 6.8g
Of which sugars: 1.5g
Linda McCartney Sausages per 100g
Saturated fat: 0.9g
Of which sugars: 0.7g
As always, I don’t want this to be a preachy post – I simply want to provide you with information about how animals are farmed so you’re able to decide whether you want to continue contributing to the slaughter of these beautiful animals.
Love, always – B
Etsy shop: beccabynature