Tags: humane farming, meat free, pork-free
My friend Chris (front man of the band Scary Little Friends) used to eat pork, and now he doesn’t. Below Chris shares his journey to a pork-free life:
Confessions from a Previous Pig Eater by Chris Jones
My name is Chris and I grew up in the South. I was pretty much raised on pork my whole life and really embraced that aspect of my culture. I was a huge fan of bacon, pulled pork, al pastor…you name it. It wasn’t any one experience that made me decide to stop eating pigs, but after 33 years of doing so I have come to a point in my life where I feel I must change.
My first experience connecting with a pig was when I was on tour and stayed on the couch of a family who lived in the country. They had a Vietnamese Pot Bellied pig who I met after I heard strange grunting noises early in the morning and woke up to him licking my face! This pig had so much swagger he reminded me of a grumpy old man.
The second experience I had was the last time I passed the Harris Ranch on the way back from LA. I know that cows are not pigs, but the stench-cloud of noxious odors that arose from that 1,000-acre field of enslaved bovine did something to me that day. I had passed that ranch dozens of times before, but that was the day I vowed to stop eating beef, or at least limit my intake. It was a step in the right direction, I think.
The experience that finally set in motion my decision was when I went to Tex’s house for the first time, who you may know as the owner of this blog. I noticed that she had a collection of pig memorabilia throughout the house, and she shared with me her love for pigs, and I couldn’t help but agree with her. Swine are not just cute and adorable, which really is not the point here, but they are incredibly intelligent and sympathetic animals that can learn from and interact with the world on an incredibly high level. I couldn’t help but think how they must feel to live in pens being artificially fattened up and pumped with hormones, while crawling all over each other, unable to run freely and explore their world. I was one of the people causing that to happen.
From there I slowly made an effort to eat less pork and more chicken and turkey. When I did eat pigs I tried to select those that were fed with organic produce and allowed to live free range, but it was soon evident that I was lying to myself. Yes, these animals had better lives than other pigs, but ultimately they were raised and slaughtered so that my lazy ass could stuff my face. That may be assurance enough for some people, but for me there is still a huge disconnect between me and where my food comes from.
My ancestors were farming families and raised their own food. If you wanted a chicken or a pig, you went out to the barn and grabbed one and slit its throat. As a child my father remembers his “pet pig” that disappeared and reappeared on his plate one day. There was a reverence and a price for the taking of an animal’s life. You raised it from a baby and fed it every day. You knew its parents and siblings and could tell the difference between all of them. They greeted you each morning when you went to clean their pens and take care of them. And in return they gave their life so you could stay strong and continue living off and giving back to the land. And you were the one holding the knife or the gun and took responsibility for what you did. I don’t mean to romanticize it, but that’s what it was. Even if you didn’t slaughter your own meat you still knew the person that did. And at times when meat was scarce, so you knew what it was like to ration it and appreciate it as a luxury. You didn’t just drive to the supermarket and throw it in your cart or order it at the drive-thru.
I believe that if you want to raise an animal and take it’s life that is your right and freedom to do so. If you want to take it to market and sell it, that is also your right, and if people want to buy it then more power to them – they are supporting a way of life that has worked for thousands of years. What I can’t wrap my head around is someone going to McDonald’s and saying, “Gimme number 3”, then eating it and not feeling a thing but ill. I can’t believe I did exactly this for so many years, and I’m mad at myself because I knew better. I thought, “It doesn’t matter that businesses make it easy for you not to think about what you’re doing or where your food comes from, it is your responsibility to do the right thing and make some sort of commitment.” It’s clearly indicative of what’s gone wrong with America.
So I stopped eating pig (and beef) about three months ago. One time I screwed up and ordered something with ham in it. I ate it because I didn’t want to waste it. It was good, but I didn’t feel great about it. I don’t think eating meat is gross and I don’t think killing animals is wrong, I just don’t want to continue supporting an industry that is using unhealthy means of producing poisonous food. I don’t perform physical labor, so I really don’t need meat to survive, and I feel a little better actually. I wish there was more I could do, and there probably is, but I can’t tell other people what to do, I can just say that I never thought in a million years I would change and I have. My father was astounded when I told him I don’t eat pork any more; he was genuinely surprised that me, of all people, could actually give up eating something I raved about for so long. But all I had to do was think about what worked for me and I feel positive about the decisions I have made and I’m looking forward to doing even more in the future.
Thanks to Chris for sharing his thoughts about transitioning to a pork-free diet. We may not all agree with each others decisions about animals and diet, but keeping the dialogue going can only help.
Tags: pig blog, pig lovers, pig rescue, Pig Rescue Organizations, pot bellied pigs
Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about following through on one of my life long dreams; to own a pet pig (*). I’ve had many questions about pet pig ownership, some already answered through simple researching. But I still lack the confidence to move forward.
This Wednesday I am actually trying out dog fostering for the first time through Wonder Dog Rescue, a terrific San Francisco-based organization that goes to high kill shelters and saves pups, matching them up with foster parents until the dogs find their forever homes with adopters. (I won’t even know what doggie I’m getting until Wednesday. Exciting, huh?!)
The system really seems to work; folks who cannot commit to adopting a dog can help the cause by fostering (or donating, of course.) Dogs who were once set to be euthanized are saved, and the mobile weekend adoptions match the rescued pooches with new families. Win Win!
The organization provides foster parents with food, collar, even puppy training pads, eliminating restrictive costs from the equation.
I chose to foster a dog because, like many people, dog euthanasia really bums me out. But also because I have one dog already (Wilbur, whom I adopted from Wonder Dog) and I want to make sure having a second dog will fit into our lives in a positive way. So fostering seemed like the perfect solution.
So back to my questions; are there any pig rescue organizations in the US (preferably in Northern California) that have foster programs? Or is the very idea of this not a good one for reasons I’m unaware?
Please chime in if you are:
- aware of any organizations who offer pig fostering;
- from a pet pig rescue organization with an opinion about whether or not fostering is a viable solution to the problem of unwanted piggies;
- a pet pig owner who has any advice for a gal considering pet pig ownership.
Thanks Pig Lovers!
*Full disclosure: The truth is I DID own a pig once, but it was not a pot bellied pig. In fact, it was not bred to be a pet pig at all. It was gifted to me when I was a teen by a couple of friends and I only had him for a few months or so before finding him a proper home at a local farm. It’s a long (and funny) story perhaps I’ll share with you one day. In the meantime, for the record I do not count that fleeting moment as pet pig ownership:)
Tags: Etsy, Fair Trade Federation, fair trade gifts, fair trade pig, Pig GIft Guide, pig gifts, Pig Lovers Gift Guide
It’s that time of year. Time to shop for your favorite pig lovers. Here to help is your 2012 Pig Lovers Gift Guide!
This year the guide is divided into categories;
FAIR TRADE: There are quite a few socially responsible Fair Trade pig gifts out there, available from businesses who belong to the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). All members undergo a rigorous screening process that evaluates their practice of all nine Fair Trade Principles. So you can feel good buying products from FTF businesses.
Mass-produced made in China pig gifts are easy to find and usually cheap (and cheaply made), but are they worth it?
HANDMADE: Thanks to websites like Etsy, finding one-of-a-kind handmade pig gifts is becoming easier and easier. Supporting artists feels good. You should try it! (Gift Guide products link to Etsy artist’s main store page, not direct to product since product page urls change often.)
DIY: Attention do-it-yourselfers, if you like to make your own pig gifts, this is the section for you!
PIG CHARITIES: This section lists some of the terrific Pig Rescue Organizations who rely on donations to keep up their great work. Donating in your favorite pig lover’s name makes a great gift.
2012 PIG LOVERS GIFT GUIDE
Well, that’s a wrap on this years Pig Lovers Gift Guide. If you sell pig gifts and you didn’t make the list, by all means share it in the Comments section. The more the merrier.
Happy Holidays to all!
Tags: collection pig, Hurricane Sandy, pig collection, Sandy, Thanksgiving
Yes, Thanksgiving is a fine time to count your blessings, single out those you are thankful for, and stuff your face. But it can also be a prime time to help those less fortunate than yourself.
So this year, as I play co-host to my very first Thanksgiving in our new home, I’m inviting a special guest to the table; a giant glass “Collection Pig” that my friend Danielle gave me many years ago. (I knew its purpose would eventually become clear to me!)
Between our afternoon feast and the post-Thanksgiving-meal party we have planned, our guests will have an opportunity to donate what they can to the Collection Pig.
Both organizations come highly recommended by my friend Ruby in Brooklyn who has been volunteering and raising $ on her own to help those impacted by Sandy. (You can read more about her efforts and how she raised thousands on her own from friends all over the world here.)
Here’s what Ruby had to say about these organizations:
Red Hook Initiative and Reaching-Out Community Service are two organizations that I absolutely trust to do the right thing. They were already servicing the communities that were affected by Sandy so they know who needs what and are there for the duration!
So moving forward, here’s what I’m hoping will happen:
1. Our Collection Pig raises a decent amount of $ on Thanksgiving to help victims of Sandy;
2. That after reading this, you will choose a cause that speaks to you and do the same thing at your Thanksgiving feast. If you don’t have a giant glass pig, let your creative juices flow. It could be a collection ice-bucket, teapot, flower pot, etc.
3. That people reading this will share this idea with THEIR friends, because obviously, the more the merrier!
We may not be able to raise thousands like Ruby, but when lots of people give a little, great things can happen.
Thanksgiving in the US has long been associated with over-indulgence, but who says having a full stomach precludes you from having a full heart?
If you’d like to contribute to one of the organizations doing Sandy relief work, here are links to their online donation pages:
P.S. For Pig Lovers Eyes Only: (Since this is a Pig Lovers blog, I want to take a moment to address my fellow pig lovers): I love pigs in part because they are compassionate, smart, loyal creatures, like the piglet who instinctively dove in to save a stuck goat from drowning. That’s how pigs role. Let’s spring into action and help those who need us most. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tags: antique pig, Collectors Weekly, Pig collectors, vintage pig
Why the cautionary headline? Because if you’re like me, you can’t stop buying pig things (exhibit A to the left, a pig planter I just bought), so when I learned about the new “Pig collectibles and antiques” category of online shopping destination Collectors Weekly, I was excited but wary.
Hunter from Collectors Weekly describes the site as “an online resource where you can get info on specific collectibles, upload your own finds, or shop our best of eBay listings. The site expanded to include an entire family of animal categories, including a section all about pig collectibles and antiques.”
Hunter asked me to “have a look, share with other porcine enthusiasts, and let us know if you have any questions.”
Sure, it’s fun to go to a website where just what you are looking for is all in one place. That’s what this has; it’s got all the pig items penned into one category. Of course, I could just go to ebay and enter “pig antique” in the search box and voila, I’ve got one page with all antique pigs I can handle (and one less hour in my day!) But this site offers more beyond the product listings, and that’s what makes it worth stopping by. To be specific…
- “Fresh Type” is a section touted as the website’s “Latest news and reporting.” On the pig page, I found a great Muppets article there called Before Sesame Street and Electric Mayhem, a Crude Kermit Lip Synced Pop Standards. If you scroll towards the bottom of it, there’s a big payoff with the image of a Swarovski-studded Miss Piggy minaudiere designed by jeweler to the stars, Kathrine Baumann.
- Show & Tell – Share Your Stuff! This section is money! People post their antique pig scores, and others leave comments and/or “like” the posts. You can also post your own. You have to create an account to do either. This section has great potential, especially being able to find out about your pig purchases, but I’d like to see more people commenting to make this section pop.
So thanks Hunter for letting me know about your new Pig Category, and Pig Lovers, check it out and let us know what you think about it.
Tags: pig collectable, pig lovers, Pigs
I have not blogged in a long, long time, but I’ve been meaning to:)
I know you can relate to that. We’ve all got things we’ve been meaning to do, right? I figure, we do what we do when we do it. Why be hard on ourselves?!
Since I last blogged, 2 major things happened in my life:
1. I bought my first house. Oh boy, that was a roller coaster of a ride, but I made it through and now have a home to call my own with plenty of room for my pig collection.
2. I got engaged. I’ve been with my boyfriend, er, fiancee (ha!) Chris for almost 5 years and during a weekend getaway to Carmel, CA he popped the question. It was ridiculously romantic; we were standing in the crashing waves, he told me he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and then he said these words, which still cracks me up:
“It’s time to lock this shit down.”
Of course I said yes.
For many, that wouldn’t be a very romantic thing to hear at that particular point, but for me, it was perfect. And that’s what makes him perfect for me. We get each other. What more could you ask for?
Since I’m sharing this news on my Pig Lovers blog, I suppose I should tie this into pigs somehow. Well, here goes:
A few days ago my dog Wilbur and I met up with our friend Danielle and her ridiculously adorable daughter Suzette for a little play date by the Bay. Danielle gave me a belated birthday gift, a charming ceramic pig. Later that afternoon, the new pig addition was on my dining room table amongst the clutter; a vase with fresh-cut flowers, some planters, a notebook, an old toy car discovered under the flooring of our new house, a laptop and other random items.
Chris comes home, and within seconds, walks into the kitchen, peers into the dining room, and says to me, “what’s that?” pointing to the white ceramic pig.
Me: “My new pig. Danielle gave it to me.”
Chris: “I think I’ve inherited your pig radar.”
(Pig radar is what I use to describe my sixth sense that enables me to locate pig items in close proximity any time, any where.)
Yep, I’ve found the man for me!
Do you have pig radar?
Tags: pig in boots, piglet in boots, Pigs, the Onion
Did you catch this on the Onion back in February? It’s pretty funny:
Tags: pig lovers, Pigs, pigs facebook
Well after a flood of requests (ok, well, 5) I created a Facebook page for pig lovers. It has zero fans as of right now, but there’s only one way to go from here, right? Hopefully it will become yet another happy place for pig lovers everywhere.
(The first one to click “like” is certainly not a rotten egg!)
Oh, in similar news…you can now subscribe to this blog via RSS feed! Thanks to Sherry from Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary who emailed me about not being able to subscribe to my RSS feed, I added RSS subscribe buttons. Duh, why I didn’t do that sooner I have no idea.
Ok that’s it for now. Time to get likin’ & subscribin’!
To “Like” the Pig Lovers Facebook page: Click the “Like” button towards the top right there, or click on this link;
To Subscribe to RSS feed: click the RSS button (comments or posts) located on the top right, just below the search box and above the Facebook box.
Tags: pig, Pig Lover, pig lovers, pig sanctuary, Pigs, potbellied pigs, ruby ranch, ruby ranch pig sanctuary
The other day I got an email from Sherry Burnett. She’s Canadian, eh. She and her husband run a pig santuary in Ontario, Canada called Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary. They named the ranch after their very first potbellied pig named, you guessed it, Ruby!
Sherry emailed me:
We love pigs here in Canada too. My husband and I run a small sanctuary with 19 resident pigs, 2 sheep, 2 bunnies, 3 dogs and 3 cats, all rescues. The pigs are definitely our favorites, and have been since we got our first potbellied pig, Ruby, about 8 years ago.
Oooh, I’d love to see some pics with all those animals milling about!
I went on their website to learn more about Ruby Ranch. Here’s how they started:
Ruby was our very first rescue. She was born at a pseudo-sanctuary (a sanctuary that breeds, and has too many animals to properly care for) and when we first set eyes on her, she and her brother were in a bird cage, in a dark and smelly barn. We asked if we could purchase her, and she was sold to us for $50. She was the inspiration for Ruby Ranch. Soon after she joined our family, we reached out to other pig parents, and rescuers. We realized there was a great need for a safe haven for these very misunderstood pets.
I guess the rest is history. Way to go Sherry!
Visit http://rubyranch.ca to learn more about Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary. (You can sponsor a pig, which makes for a super cool gift for that special pig lover in your life, even if that pig lover is YOU!)
Contact Info: email Sherry@RubyRanch.ca
Tags: Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, pig, pig card, pig gift, Pigs, pot bellied pig, Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs
Yesterday my work pal Drea walked up to my desk and handed me an envelope.
No, there was no cash in it. (We work at a non-profit!)
It was a pig card that she bought at a shop in Phoenix, AZ called Blueberry Deluxe Boutique where she sells some of her handmade accessories.
The card inside read: “Hey Tex-I couldn’t resist thinking of you when I saw this :)”
Do I work with swell people or what?!
I love my new card. On the back is a cute little pig drawing with the words “Ironwood Pig Santuary” so of course, I had to investigate, and boy am I glad I did!
Thanks to Drea’s good deed, I discovered Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, a wonderful place located in Arizona that “provides shelter and care for unwanted and abused pot bellied pigs.”
Their website is great, filled with helpful information about pot bellied pigs,plus what the non-profit organization does, volunteering and visiting opportunities and a whole lot more. The only thing I didn’t see was a place to purchase their cute cards online. Oh well, perhaps in the future.
If you want to learn more about this pig sanctuary, check out their video below. My favorite part is when co-founder Mary lays down the important law: “There is no such thing as a teacup pig.” You said it Mary!
I may be crossing the country later this summer. Who knows, perhaps I’ll stop by Ironwood for a visit. Thanks Drea for your random act of kindness, and Ironwood Pig Sanctuary co-founders Ben and Mary for all you do!
If you’d like to support Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, good for you! Just click here you awesome person!