Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Archive for the ‘bullying’ tag

Tamworth bully

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I have found it fascinating to watch our three rare breed pigs develop their very individual characters. When I used to work in the pig lairage at the Malton Bacon factory we would receive up to 1400 pigs a day, where they were housed for up to 24 hours prior to slaughter. They were a Landrace commercial breed and so all looked the same, hence I never really noticed or had time to notice their characters. The only thing I do remember is they had a rather nasty habit of turning on an injured pig which would have to be despatched immediately with a captive bolt gun to put it out of its misery. This shadier side of a pigs character is never really seen by the public, we all have cute images of pigs thrust in front of us from birth. Having said that I absolutely love pigs, they’re certainly no worse than humans. They get excited, bored, hungry, vocal, seek the company of others and have spats. However they never seem to hold grudges. This has been so evident from Lola’s, our Tamworth, repeated bullying of Oinky, the boy Gloucester Old Spot. It mainly happens when there’s food about but also occasionally she just bites his ear anyway. Poor Oinky squeals each time but later on you see him nuzzled up against Lola and Tallulah, the Berkshire. Yes, after three months I have fallen deeply in love with our pigs.

The impending execution day is drawing nearer for all three and even though I have worked in abattoirs and on the killing line it is very difficult to come to terms with when it is an animal you have personally cared for. Even when I was hardened to it all, I did and still maintain that it is a horrible process despite all the best abattoir procedures and designs to ease the animals stress. Twenty four years ago when I was working in the abattoir we had water sprays to cool the pigs down, fed them reject chocolates and other foods, played classical music to soothe them. However when the machinery was turned on every morning and the noise spooked the pigs they spent the rest of their short lives squealing, stressed and smelling the blood just round the corner. Oh yes, it’s going to be unbelievably hard in a few weeks time.


Written by Sarah

June 14th, 2009 at 10:37 am