I have to admit that at one time I really enjoyed bacon and eggs each Saturday
with my friend, Sr. Jacinta and Peaches, my beautiful miniature collie mix. Those
Saturdays were times of friendly repartee as Sister told me about her week
attending patients at the nursing home where she worked, and I exchanged the
happenings of my week with the joy of my life - Peaches, who I received as a puppy
in 1975. She also enjoyed the bacon and eggs breakfast with us for the time we
Because of Peaches, now my week was immersed in animal right causes. I subscribed
to the American Anti-Vivisection Society in Jenkintown, PA and was horrified to
read the accounts of cruelty to our innocent research animals. George Cave was
president of the AAVS at the time, and the monthly magazines which were published
during his tenure were wonderful in my estimation because the topics were so well
written and covered. I learned a great deal about the suffering animal condition
from them, and I still have many copies which I occasionally peruse. A favorite
writer then was Liam Brophy, and I sometimes see his articles in the Ark - the bi-monthly
magazine of Catholic Concern for Animals.
At the time, I also subscribed to the now defunct Animals Agenda - another wonderful
animal rights magazine which I still sorely miss. It opened my eyes to so many terrible
accounts of animal abuse and cruelty. Of course, I began writing letters wherever
the authors indicated and often that would be to the USDA and to CEO's of companies
which engaged in conducting cruel tests on primates, cats, dogs, bunnies, mice, etc. It
was also then in the 80's when the cruel CAFOs suddenly made their appearance
and our farm animals were being ushered into hell.
So my week was full, but happy and sad at the same time, but Peaches was always
there for inspiration despite my lagging spirit from reading about so much animal
cruelty. But our breakfast menu would change after I read an inspirational account by
Sweden's Astrid Lindgren re an imaginary happening about God being invited to see
how his animal creatures were doing. Because of it, our new menu would be scrambled
eggs and toast. Bacon could no longer be served in my house under any conditions.
Here is why:
The place is Sweden and Lindgren, the writer of Pippi Longstreet, was deeply concerned
at how the farm animals were being treated in her native country. And since she never
lacked an opportunity to reveal her disdain for animal cruelty, she wrote an imaginary
account of inviting God to see his "beautiful" farm animals in Sweden.
But instead of presenting Him with an idyllic picture of pigs roaming freely on a farm
and having at their disposal places of clean water to cool themselves, she led God to
one of their large pig slaughterhouses. At first she wrote that Our Lord was dazed by
the stench. He then saw the terrified pigs being driven to slaughter with electric shocks
after which they were hung and hastily bled. Then they were chucked into a scalding
water vat. But one poor little pig hadn't been bled enough because of the rush and
landed into the scalding water conscious and screaming. A horrible sight to see him
swimming around among the corpses of the other dead pigs in water which contained
their urine and feces as well.
And then I loved her giving voice to Our Lord: "What kind of blockheads are these to
whom I gave dominion over the animals? Tell me that! "
Because of her compassion and caring, Astrid Lindgren achieved the enactment of the
1988 Law Protecting Farm Animals in Sweden. I have to do more research and find
out if this compassionate law still is enforced in Sweden, but whether or not- it will
not take away from one woman's courageous stand against farm animal cruelty
I was compelled to retell her story as I sadly read a Wayne Pacelle blog which read:
"Smithfield Profits Soar as its Sows Suffer, Despite Company's Pledge." He wrote
that he had been heartened by Smithfield Foods' pledge to phase out its use of gestation
crates to confining breeding sows by 2017. Even though many millions and millions
of sows would before that time still endure these inhumane contraptions which immobilize
them for their entire lives, he realized that it was the first time a major pork producer
made such a commitment.
But then in 2009 Smithfied put a "pause" on its commitment because of what they
claimed experiencing an economic downturn. Even though reneging on their promise,
CEO C. Larry Pope at the time promised HSUS Pacelle that they would set a new
timeline for meeting its commitment, but things still today seem to be up in the air.
And so this hideous treatment of sows persists with seemingly no end in sight. Recently
an HSUS undercover investigator at a Smithfield subsidiary in Virginia found breeding
sows who had bitten the bars of their crates until their mouths bled. He also found
others with injuries and open sores from their crates. And a haunting sight was seeing
prematurely born piglets falling through the slats of the floor into manure pits.
Because of this, I have never regretted ending my bacon and egg breakfasts in the
1980s. I hope that people who read about these cruel gestation crates will think twice
about eating bacon, pork chops, and ham. None of those products have an appeal for
me and others of like concern. We are not willing to pay the horrendous price of sow
suffering for any former imagined gastronomical "pleasures."