People of faith – a voice for the voiceless

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“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless." (Proverbs 31:8)

The One Web of Life programme is initiating a ‘call to action’ on behalf of pigs in South Africa.  We would like to urge members of faith communities to refrain from eating any meat derived from pigs during 2016.

Pigs are highly intelligent, communicative, social animals who suffer immensely in factory farms and in abattoirs designed to kill animals for mass consumption.  Most people are not aware of how cruelly farmed pigs in South Africa and elsewhere are treated.  You have a way of making a difference:  give up eating bacon and all pork until the producers stop using these horrendous methods.

Factory pigsSows are particularly badly treated - when pregnant, they are placed in sow stalls, in which they are so tightly confined that they are unable to express basic behaviours, such as being able to turn around.   These intelligent sensitive animals regularly engage in stress-related repetitious behaviours, such as bar-biting.   Sows are first impregnated at 7 months of age and live out their lives in a cycle of pregnancy, birth, and nursing until they are eventually sent to slaughter. A sow will be kept in some form of a cage for at least 4 years - basically her lifetime.

Sows are loving mothers:  newborn piglets recognise their mother’s voice, and sows communicate with their young while nursing.    But in factory farms, these natural behaviours are thwarted:  once a sow gives birth, she is moved to a farrowing crate, where again she is so tightly confined she cannot even turn to see her young.

Her offspring also suffer immeasurably:  male piglets are castrated, have their teeth pulled and their tales sliced off - all without pain relief!

Slaughter: there are no humane ways to kill pigs for mass consumption. Animals are stunned before being killed, but this ‘stunning’ is itself often cruel.  In some abattoirs, pigs are gassed with CO2 gas, which causes the sensation of drowning.   A recent NSPCA investigation (see link to video below) shows pigs screaming in extreme panic as they are asphyxiated .  Other methods of stunning, such as the use of captive bolts or electrical stunning, often result in pigs partially or incompetently stunned, leaving them fully conscious while their throats are slit.

We often feel helpless in the face of so many injustices in the world; refusing to pay for cruelty is one way that we can all make a difference.  By boycotting bacon and pork products, we will send a strong message that the cruel treatment of animals is not acceptable.  We hope you will join us in this campaign.

* Written by Elisa Galgut, OWL volunteer


CO2 gassing:

Factory farming pigs in South Africa: