Wonderful letter from Sherry Vas Burnett

Sherry Forthepigs
found a link in an article to a website called Humane-itarian.org. It’s all about “happy meat.” They were asking people to write in and share what they know about pigs. This is what I sent them: Pigs are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, only ranking behind whales, dolphins and great apes. Pigs form strong bonds with their herdmates, their babies, and their caretakers. It has been proven that they have a sense of “self” in that they recognize that a mirror image is just that. They can find a bowl of food utilizing a mirror. They are better at video games than primates. Most pigs love to wallow in mud to keep cool and keep biting flies away, some prefer not to get dirty. Given a choice, they will never soil where they sleep. They love bellyrubs. They form hierarchies, usually led by a mature female. They grieve. I was saying goodbye to a gorgeous, huge pig that we had. He had passed during the night and I was lying beside him, with my head on his shoulder, crying. Each one of our 6 other pigs took turns and slowly walked past us, stopping and looking sidelong at Harry, saying goodbye. I have seen them make their nest in the doorway of the barn and watch the sunset. I have seen them stand and watch a thousand fireflies, and when they got tired of standing, they made a hollow in the cool dirt and lay down to watch some more. I have seen them go nose to nose with each other, and have long conversations. I have seen them out grazing, and the matriarch suddenly froze and looked off in the distance. She saw something alarming, barked and ran for the barn, all the others in quick pursuit. I have seen them come up to us whenever we have the hose out, looking expectantly for us to “fill up their scoop.” They make a little scoop out of their lower lip, and let it fill before slurping it up. They are calm and benevolent friends to smaller creatures, our dogs, cats, chickens, even wild birds. I have seen them run and spin in pure bliss, for no other reason than they are happy to be alive. All of my pigs began life destined for the dinner table. None will ever end up there. They will live here in peace and happiness until they take their last breath, and then they will be buried with dignity. What I really want people to know is that they are no different than the animals that we call pets. It is only our perception and conditioning that allows us to see them as a food choice. I would also like people to know that their “happy meat” was killed in the same slaughterhouses, using the same methods as factory farmed animals. Maybe they had a happy life,(albeit un-naturally short, pigs are slaughtered while still babies, about 6 months old) until the confusing day when the human they trusted leads them onto the truck to the abbatoir. They most certainly did not have a happy death.


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