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: 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 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: fundraising ideas, George Clooney, George Clooney's pig, Max the Pig, Pet Pig, Pig Rescue Organizations, Pigs Peace Sanctuary, Teacup Pigs, Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pigs
Forget bake sales and silent auctions, raffles and gala events. When it comes to non-profit fundraising, one animal activist has a different strategy; baldness.
Pig rescue organization volunteer Donna Gonder is offering to shave her head to raise funds for Pigs Peace Sanctuary, a non-profit safe haven for abandoned and abused pigs in Stanwood, WA. The rules are simple;
- If Donna reaches her fundraising goal of $180,000, she will shave her entire head. First snip goes to whoever donates the most.
- If Donna raises $20,000, an anonymous donor has agreed to match it with another $20k
- If you donate $10,000+ Donna will let YOU shave her head. Pigs Peace reps assured me that if they receive more than one $10,000+ donation, they’ll happily seek out other heads to shave. (Um, not it.)
What would a pig rescue organization do with $180,000 dollars? I’ll get to that, but first, you may be wondering why there’s a need for a pig rescue organization. Because despite being blessed with the gift of common sense, many humans still believe there is such a thing as a full grown pig the size of a teacup. So they buy these “magic” pigs and abandon them once the reality of size sets in. Animal shelters won’t accept the unwanted pigs so voila..pig rescue organizations to the rescue!
Here are five quick facts about Pigs Peace Sanctuary:
- This organization really has its you-know-what together. Scratch that. That’s opinion, not fact.
Judy Woods (pictured left) founded Pigs Peace Sanctuary back in 1994, and they’ve been providing medicine, nutrition and care to its pigs ever since.
- You may find Judy’s son Nathan working at the Sanctuary; he comes across (in their documentary) as a compassionate vegetarian animal lover and a great son. Oh, AND he’s cute. What’s not to like?!
- Pigs Peace Sanctuary doesn’t just cater to pigs; they also cater to other abused animals including horses, dogs, llamas, cats and sheep.
- The sanctuary offers the public an opportunity to visit and learn about animals, farming, and the foods we eat. I’m glad someone is teaching our next generation about where their food comes from. (I met a 5 year old once who tried to convince me that there was in fact a fruit roll-up tree. Scary stuff.)
So about that $180,000. Pigs Peace Sanctuary will use the money to purchase more land for pigs to roam free, plus fund a new education center where people can learn about animals. Additional land would enable the sanctuary to hold fundraising events on site without disturbing the animals or wasting money on outside venue costs. As Donna explains, every single penny that comes in is used for the animals and educating the public on how wonderful these creatures really are.
If Pigs Peace Sanctuary had a dollar for every idiot who buys a cute tiny piglet thinking it would stay that way, perhaps they wouldn’t need creative fundraisers like Donna.
Animals are not the only ones who stand to gain if volunteer Donna reaches her fundraising goal. If she shaves her head, Donna plans to donate her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
I don’t have a lot of blog readers (yet), so if you are in the minority and reading this, please consider donating as much as you can to help Pigs Peace Sanctuary buy land. Get to know them better by visiting their website. You’ll find profiles of the sanctuary pigs with photos and stories of how each one was found. Plus they do a great job of showcasing what it’s like to live (and visit) there.
Do you know George Clooney? He lost his beloved 18 year old pet pig Max back in 2006. (RIP Max.) I assume George is loaded, and clearly he has good taste in pets, so I’m thinking he might be willing to donate to Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Max’s name (there’s a ‘donate in honor of a loved one‘ feature on the Pigs Peace website), so if you know George, do me a favor and pass this post on to him.
Here’s how to donate if you don’t know George Clooney or if you ARE George Clooney:
- Log onto http://pigspeace.org/main/donate.html
- Choose your donation amount and method (Check or Paypal)
- Write “head shaving” in the donation notes OR email firstname.lastname@example.org a heads up (no pun intended) so they can keep track of all head shaving related donations
For questions or to help with this fundraising project, email email@example.com or call (206) 289-0957.
Tags: April Fool's Day, Conan O'Brien, Dog Lover, Dogs, Dogster, Hogster, Maria Goodavage, Pig Lover, Pigs, Wilbur
So there’s gullible and then there’s what I am. What’s beyond gullible? Stupid? I don’t usually engage in public displays of self deprecation. I leave that to professionals like Conen O’Brian who do it for laughs. But in this case, I’m calling myself out. Here’s why:
About a month ago a friend forwarded me a blog post announcing that the popular dog lovers blog Dogster was switching formats completely. Instead of covering content that’s “up-to-dog about everything canine” they decided to re-focus their attention from dogs to hogs. Here’s an excerpt:
Dogsters, sit down. I have an announcement that might surprise some of you. Dogster will soon undergo a major change. Because of the growing popularity of pigs, Dogster is shifting direction and becoming Hogster.
“Growing popularity of pigs.” Made sense to me!
I pride myself on being both a dog AND hog lover. (Exhibit A: I named my new puppy Wilbur.)
But between the two, pigs are the clear underdogs, er, underhogs. So I was delighted by Dogster’s announcement. It’s about time pigs got the attention they deserved, I thought.
I shared the news with friends and loved ones, completely convinced of its authenticity and credibility. Next I planned to do a blog post about this exciting change to share with my small but dedicated readership. After re-reading the post I made my way to the Comments section:
Ha ha! Good one! Happy April Fool’s Day, everybody!
Nice try guys – but WE were not fooled. Happy April Fools day to you too!
You almost had me!!!
Almost had me, nice try, happy what day? It finally dawned on me; I had been had. 30+ commenters managed to figure out that this was just a roust. But me? My mother has repeatedly assured me that I do in fact have a very high I.Q. At that moment, I begged to differ.
To my defense, I read the blog announcement after April Fool’s Day, and didn’t think to check the date. But I’ll be the first to admit, that’s no excuse. If life is a competition, then let me graciously accept my loss by congratulating writer Maria Goodavage who penned (er, keyed?) the original post Dogster Becoming Hogster. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you got me. You win.
Moving on, I searched for the silver lining in this dark cloud, and here’s what I found: I didn’t publish a post about this exciting announcement before coming to my senses.(Consider yourself spared:) And who knows, perhaps this is just life’s way of telling us that someone SHOULD launch a hog blog for pig fans to network, share and learn. I can see it now. Hogster, up-to-hog about everything porcine. Any takers?
Tags: kermit, kermit and miss piggy wedding, miss piggy, muppet movie, muppet poster, scotty j
In other news, my best friend Scotty J, accomplished rock poster artist, just did a screen-printed poster for the Muppet Movie showing at renowned San Francisco movie house The Red Vic. The poster kicks ass. My first instinct was to buy the whole lot of posters and wallpaper my entire cottage with them, but instead, I’m going to do the mature thing and have one framed, then place it prominently on my living room wall.
Check it out; you can purchase your very own from Scotty J’s website, while they last. (He only printed 100, and each one is signed and numbered.)
Have you seen the wedding of Kermit and Miss Piggy? What a hoot:
Tags: dachshund and piglet, dog nurses piglet, pink and tink
Remember internet superstars Pink and Tink, the infamous dachshund dog who nursed a piglet? Keep reading to get an update with a side of conspiracy.
If you are one of the few who hasn’t heard about this dynamic duo you can view the original story and pics here.
Since news broke back in early 08 and forwarded photos began flying around cyberspace, there have been some interesting developments in this piglet pooch saga.
For one, some doubters started questioning whether the photos were real! Come on people. Sure, Photoshop can do some amazing things. But I’m gonna go with….WHY? Why would anyone waste their time Photoshopping photos of a piglet nursing from a dog?
One such theorist who shall remain nameless (unless you click here) at least fessed up to his temporary bout of paranoia and contacted the owner. Good for him! He posted the owner’s reply along with new (also unaltered) photos.
There are some juicy updates about Pink and Tink in the owner’s reply. In it you’ll learn that Pink was born premature and lives on a 4 H farm, and will remain with his wiener dog family and not be adopted. Trust me, it’s a fun read!
Lastly, would you believe there’s a book about Pink and Tink called The Pink Puppy: A True Story of a Mother’s Love? If anyone’s read it, please leave a comment and let us know what you think.
Tags: dog nurses piglet, pig nurses puppies, pink and tink
Answer: A pig interacting with a member of another animal species.
There’s nothing quite like watching animals from different species interact, especially if one of the animals is a pig.
One particular niche of this pig/other animal segment I like to refer to as the “PNBNP,” which stands for Pigs Nursed By Non-Pig.
Some are internet superstars, some local heroes. Here are a few PNBNP’s:
More than likely you’ve heard of internet superstars Tink and Pink, the dachshund mom who nursed an ailing piglet. If not, you can see photos and story here. Pink was born premature and too weak to milk from its own mother. Tink had milk to spare, with only one surviving puppy in her litter. So the owner put 2 and 2 together and the rest is internet history. You can read more about them in my What’s New with the Daschund Nursing Piglet blog post.
Next is celebrity PNBNP citing out of Weed County, Florida. Introducing Tequila and her adopted six pack of piglets; Snowball, Junior, Mud, Freckles, Spot and Wilbur, born July 22nd, 2009.
Check out Tequila and her adopted six pack:
Apparently it works both ways. In the Greek village of Vritta, a generous sow does the nursing after ‘adopting’ four puppies who were abandoned by their mom. Watch them here.
Similarly, back in 2008 a mama pig in Laos nursed one lucky doggy as you can see in this video:
(Side Note: I was actually in Laos in 2008, but was not lucky enough to spot such a miracle:)
So there you have it, just a few examples of this inter-species nursing phenomenon. Imagine how many go unreported each year. If you know of others feel free to share with us all in the Comments.