Factory-farmed mother porcs have been known to break out of their cages every night, proving their intelligence.
When I was visiting a farm to get to know the animals and their systems, World Animal Protection sent me a story about the intelligence of pigs. It brought a huge smile to my face.
Every morning, the farm staff would see around 40 of the 360 mother pigs in the barn, quietly wandering about the barn in the morning light.
The farm staff had outwitted them and the pigs jumped from their cages several times during the night. They would return to their cages each morning and embark on another night-time adventure.
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1. Mother pigs: Farm workers 0.
Brilliant! I laughed, trying to contain my excitement. These intelligent animals were able to know exactly what they wanted and how they could get it. They could sense freedom and a more natural way to live and they didn’t want to be confined when there was an alternative.
You are alone and caged
These pigs had more luck than others. These pigs were able to move around and turn around during pregnancy. They could also choose to sleep where they wanted to, what time to eat, and with whom to socialise.
After giving birth, however, they were placed back in individual cages for insemination. They were confined to an area no larger than a fridge and were unable turn, move, or socialise.
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This is how mother pigs all over the globe live.
Three out of four mother porcines are kept in small, barren enclosures throughout their adult lives. They are deprived of all their basic needs.
These pigs are stressed and depressed. They bite the bars of their cages, chew at the air and sham-chew (chew at the air) to express frustration.
These mother pigs fought back. Because they were not kept in permanent cages, their determination, hope and legs were stronger. This allowed them to be free each night. These pigs are not the only ones who want to live in the wild.
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Jane Goodalls of Pigs
Most of our pork comes directly from factory farms. Many pigs live in unnatural conditions. However, this doesn’t mean that pigs are losing touch with their natural instincts.
Stolba, D. G. M. Wood – Gush, who can be described as the ‘Jane Goodalls for pigs’, published a landmark piece of research in 1989.
They released a few pigs into the woods to see what they would do if they were allowed to return to their wild environment.
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Wild at Heart
The domestic pigs behaved just like wild counterparts, which is not surprising. They hunted for food in the forest floor looking for roots, nuts, and insects. With their powerful noses, they turned the soil to explore.
To protect their young, the mother pigs kept together in groups and made comfortable beds. These beds were hollowed out and soft to rest on, sleep on, and give birth. When it was hot, they hid under trees or sat in the mud. To warm themselves up in the cold, they laid out in the sunlight.
These extremely strong needs can’t be bred from pigs even after thousands of years of domestication. These natural behaviors are essential for pigs to live a happy life.
These basic needs are not met by millions of pigs raised in factory farms.
When the mother pigs leapt out of their cages, it was a clear signal to farm workers that they wanted to be natural and deserve a good life. All that was required of the farm workers was to listen.
- Sign the pledge to support pigs
- We can all work together to end the suffering of factory-farmed pigs.
- Sign our pledge and make sure supermarkets promise to only sell pork from right-raised pigs.