Pigs are highly social, playful and sensitive animals. They are also very intelligent and have even learned to play video games. Here are 10 Phenomenal Reasons to Love Pigs

Have You Met Esther The Wonder Pig?


Esther was born in the summer of 2012. She came into the lives of Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter a few weeks later when someone called Steve and offered to sell him a “micropig”. He was told Esther was six months old and wouldn’t grow to be more than 70lbs. Without consulting with Derek, Steve agreed to buy Esther and she joined their furry family of two dogs and two cats.

It was not until they took Esther to the vet and he noticed that her tail was cropped, a standard procedure on factory farms, that they discovered that Esther was no micropig but a six-week old full-sized pig, and that she would grow to several hundred pounds. But by then it was too late, because Steve and Derek were in love.

When Steve and Derek first brought Esther home they were meat eaters. Bacon was a staple in their house. It was only a day or two after bringing her home that they made the conection and stopped the bacon altogether.  … read more

Factory Farming

In today’s intensive agriculture system pigs are treated more like production units than sentient beings.

More than 30 million pigs are produced every year in Canada for slaughter. Most are born to sows who are used for breeding and kept in two by seven feet metal gestation crates, where they are unable to even turn around during their four-month pregnancy. Sows experience physical ailments such as crippling leg disorders and body lesions, and suffer loneliness from the barren environment.

… “The problem is that humans have victimized animals to such a degree that they are not even considered victims. They are not even considered at all. They are nothing. They don’t count; they don’t matter; they’re commodities like TV sets and cell phones. We have actually turned animals into inanimate objects – sandwiches and shoes.”

– Gary Yourofsky

Painful Procedures and Stressful Living Conditions

In Canada, the sows’ piglets stay with their mothers until weaning at two to three weeks, while in nature they stay with sow for a much longer period. When removed from their mothers, the young piglets’ teeth are clipped, their tails cut and the males are castrated – all without anaesthesia. The piglets are taken away to be fattened in nursery pens on concrete floors, then to “grower” pens, and finally to “finisher” pens until they reach slaughter weight of 250 pounds at six months old. The pigs live in crowded pens on concrete slatted flooring above their waste causing an ammonia-filled noxious air which the animals must breathe day after day. The stressful conditions of pig factories cause extreme boredom, aggression and physical and mental deprivation in pigs.

Transport and Slaughter

Pigs may legally be transported up to 36 hours in Canada without water, food or rest, in addition to a five-hour food withdrawal prior to loading. During transport, the animals are routinely overcrowded, transported without bedding or proper ventilation, subjected to freezing or overheating, and are roughly handled and mistreated. To make matters worse, pigs are vulnerable to motion sickness. Journeys often cause nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Pigs are subject to rough handling and abuse when loading on and off trucks and at the slaughter plant, often being kicked or shouted at, jabbed with an electric prod, or beaten with other instruments such as paddles.

A NEW undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals Canada shows horrific abuse in the livestock transportation industry. CTV’s W5 reports on the atrocities in the show “These Little Piggies“. The full W5 show can be see online in three parts.

Pigs should be stunned (rendered unconscious) prior to slaughter which is done either by electrical current or carbon dioxide gas mixture. Neither method provides a foolproof way of ensuring pigs undergo a painless slaughter because each stunning method is problematic and can cause pain and distress. There are also cases where improper stunning occurs and the still-conscious pigs are shackled by one leg and hoisted, upside down, for exsanguination, and sent conscious to the scalding tanks. The slaughter process is frightening and stressful for animals. In slaughter plants, inspectors typically pay more attention to food safety issues rather than welfare issues during periodic slaughterhouse inspections. There are too few inspectors to ensure animals are slaughtered in accordance with the regulations. Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are the largest pig-producing and pig-slaughtering provinces in Canada. Approximately one-quarter of all Canadian pigs are exported to the U.S. for fattening and slaughter.

 How to Help

The best way to help farm animals is to adopt a vegan diet. A plant-based diet is ethical, healthy and environmentally sustainable. To learn more, watch Forks over Knives and visit our Going Vegan page. To learn about vegan cooking and nutrition, visit Know Thy Food or see us on Facebook. Write to your MP and the Federal Agriculture Minister and urge them to revise the animal transport regulations so that allowable transport times are substantially shorter. The regulations should include provisions to protect animals from weather extremes, overcrowding and abuse. Be sure to mention that more frequent inspections and stronger penalties for violations and animal mistreatment should be part of the revised regulations. Write to your MPP, the pork industry and grocery retailers asking that the industry stop using sow stalls. Visit: www.helpthepigs.com for more information about sow stalls. Join Toronto Pig Save weekly vigils to bear witness and raise awareness of pigs being sent to slaughter. For more information, visit: www.torontopigsave.org.

Photo credits: Steve Jenkins & Derek Walter, Toronto Pig Save, Jo-Ann McArthur, We Animals, Mercy for Animals Canada

Pigs are social, playful, intelligent animals.

Toronto Pig Save bearing witness to pigs transported in extreme weather conditions.