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Saving a 4H Pig

Message Suzana Megles
I want to write a letter to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer- hopefully today. The title will be "Will Cleveland Ever Have a Vegan Cook-out?" For years and years I remember Memorial Day here having a Cleveland Rib Burn-off. What surprises and saddens me is that in this day and age there are still so many meat lovers in Cleveland. Of course, the same could probably be said about your city or town. And you are probably one of this number.
As Sir Paul McCartney once observed -- slaughterhouses should have walls of glass so that everyone could see what happens in these places of terror and suffering for farm animals. I agree. I believe that if the people who flock to buy a slab of ribs were to first see how the pigs are slaughtered, I guarantee that at least the most sensitive would change their minds.
I also read a familiar quote today on Care2 from George Bernard Shaw which I loosely quote-- "I don't eat animals because they are my friends, and you don't eat friends." Yes, many of us have to agree with this simple true statement which applies to us as well.
On Care 2 Laura Guttridge of Florida wrote an account of Dragon, a 4H pig who she believed was raised by special needs students. She felt that these students would have been devastated to learn that their beloved pig was to be auctioned off to the highest bidder for slaughter.
I have always been saddened at the concept of the 4H Club -- having children raise young animals and then be proud that their animal commands a hefty price in auction for slaughter. Some thing is wrong with this picture -- at least to me and others like me. I know that I could never easily part with an animal who I have lovingly raised and then have him/her sold for profit and slaughter.
Alerted by an animal welfare group in 2012 that Dragon, the 4H pig was going to be auctioned off, Laura and her friend Maria went to the auction- hoping to have the winning bid for Dragon.
This is Laura's poignant account of what happened at the auction proceedings that day at the bidding war for Dragon:
"Many pigs were sold before Dragon made his entrance. The pigs were all
selling for around the same price, and I had just enough money it seemed to buy this pig. However, when Dragon was finally led out, a big commotion started to take place. The bidding became a bidding war that I could not win. Dragon ended up selling for more than triple the money I had. The high schooler that was with me started to cry. To be honest, I felt like crying too. I will never understand to this day why this happened. It may have been because the pig was raised for a special needs program though."
Laura was lucky to have her mother there too, and she insisted that she
approach the man who bought Dragon. Upon hearing her story, he agreed
to resell Dragon to her. More bumps along the way followed with someone
saying the pig could not be resold, but Laura prevailed, and she finally had
to make sure that she indeed had #374 which was Dragon's ear tag number.
Transporting Dragon to the sanctuary was another concern, and she luckily found someone who said he would deliver Dragon for $200 which she had. Later she agonized if this stranger might be a scammer, and she even sadly envisioned poor Dragon being slaughtered and barbecued.
However, the next morning when she drove up to the sanctuary, she was much relieved to find Dragon there and checked his ear tag. Yep -- it was #374. She breathed a sigh of relief. This day was the happy culmination of the previous day at auction which had been frought with obstacles. Dragon still lives happily at the sanctuary -thanks to her efforts and concern. Good job, Laura!
Sadly, Dragon's story of rescue is such a very isolated case. The majority of pigs today are raised in terrible conditions and are slaughtered. Mother pigs spend their lives in cruel, confining gestation crates -- unable to move. Can you imagine what this must be like? It is torture- plain and simple.
Any sick piglets they may have are bounced around like footballs as a method of killing them. Some are thrashed to the ground. I will never understand why my Catholic church has not noticeably objected to this
cruelty. I will never understand why most people in general have not objected to this cruelty. If they would, it would probably stop.
And just this week I read somewhere that in one CAFO factory barn --the floor caved in and thousands of pigs were dropped into the manure pit where they expired -- unable to extricate themselves from this place of
hell. What a horrible way to die.
If any of this surprises you, please go on the Internet while we still can, and look up Mercy for Animals. There you will find the information which hopefully will shock and turn you in the direction of compassion.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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