I hear this all the time. Friends and strangers alike, upon learning that our twin girls are raising pigs as 4-H pig farming projects, first react with happy smiles that turn into frowns of concern when they realize short, happy lives of these hogs will ultimately become someone’s dinner.
I know what you’re all thinking. Either I haven’t read Charlotte’s Web, or else I am cruelly insensitive to the fate of these creatures.
A few preliminaries are in order:
- I am not a vegetarian.
- I am not a carnivorous beast. I eat meat maybe once or twice a week.
- If I am going to eat meat, I want it to taste good and therefore, consume meat from local, free-range sources whenever possible.
- I like animals. Really.
- Despite the amount of pooping they do, pigs are cool.
The past few weeks, Otter and Fergus, the pigs on Sirius Alpacas’ farm, have been leading a charmed life. They wake up to a breakfast of high-protein grain and fresh fruit. They live in a roomy indoor pen with fans and fly traps. They get hosed down and walked around the backyard every few days. They get petted and loved at nearly every meal. They have two jobs: stay healthy and gain weight. They’ve got it good.
Yes, they will become pulled-pork sandwiches and bacon bits. And, I am OK with this. I know with certainty, whoever ends up buying Otter and Fergus is getting an animal that enjoyed a good life and awesome diet.
Kira, Otter’s owner, and Maya, Fergus’ owner, purchased their piglets knowing full well that they would raise them from April through August. And then, they were to become part of the food chain. This knowledge doesn’t seem to affect my girls too negatively. They’re looking forward to showing how much they’ve accomplished since spring – health records, training, weight gain – at The Great Geauga County Fair. Yes, they’re a little sad to see them go, but isn’t that what pigs do? Come to earth for a few months and then leave as pork chops?
What do you think? Could you send your fair project animal to slaughter?
Cool Pig Facts:
- Despite their rotund torsos and short, stubby legs, pigs run super fast. A pig can run a 7-minute mile!
- Pigs don’t sweat, which is why they like to roll in mud. It cools them off.
- The Chinese were the first people to raise wild hogs as food.
- Insulin is made from pigs.
- Pig heart valves have replaced human heart valves.
- Pigs weigh about 3 pounds at birth. They often weigh about 300 pounds at maturity. Barrows (males) can hit 500.
- Hogs have 34 – 44 teeth.
- Cover your ears! A pig’s scream can reach 115 decibels. A jet engine is 113.
- Pigs consume about 8 pounds of food per day.
- Two of Geauga County’s cutest pigs will be at the fair Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, 2012.
By the way, the pigs and alpacas have coexisted at Sirius Alpacas without any difficulty. The alpacas are used to them by now, and don’t avoid coming into the barn to eat any more.
Sirius Alpacas is a family farm in Chardon, Ohio that raises and boards alpacas for fun, therapy and profit. The farm uses its fleeces in the production of high-quality yarns and felted goods.
Sirius Alpacas also imports fair-trade Andean items including socks, scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters and more from Peru and Bolivia, offering the style and culture of South American goods while helping the farmers, artists and craftsmen of that region. Lori Weber, co-owner of Sirius Alpacas, is the creator and writer of this alpaca blog. You may reach her at email@example.com.