Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Pet pig factories part II

I wrote an E-mail to the breeder mentioned in the entry below and asked a couple of composed and friendly questions. She only answered to one of the questions:

> My pig didn't
> have his teeth clipped, and I don't know of any other pet pigs in my
> area that have had it done. Why do you do it?
((( BECAUSE POTBELLYS PICK ONE TIT & THAT IS THEIRS FOREVER = IF ANOTHER
PIGGLET TRIES TO GET ON IT & NURSE THEY BITE THE MOMS TIT & SOMETIMES SHE
QUITS FEEDING THEM BECAUSE IT HURTS & ANOTHER REASON IS WHEN THEY ARE
PLAYING WITH EACH OTHER THEY CAN CUT THE EARS OF THEIR SISTER OR BROTHER
PIGGLET . SO IT IS A SAFTY FACTOR & YOU DO IT THE MINUTE THEY ARE BORN & IT
DOESN'T BOTHER THEM ..)))

(That's the whole E-mail.) "It doesn't bother them" ... Right. And how come pigs have survived and bred in the wild for thousands of years and been safe and just fine with their teeth intact ...?
Also, if you feel your arguments aren't enough, maybe caps lock will help the message get through.

The breeder's name is Vickie Barrow, and the business is "Best Little Potbelly Pig House in Texas". I also found this interesting entry in a discussion forum.

Since pigs raised for the meat industry are normally so abused, it would seem difficult to make any case against her and other breeders like her. All I as a normal person can do is say: Do not get involved with people like her.

But actually, at least in European legislation clipping of teeth is strongly discouraged, as described in this publication by the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority:

"In 1997 the EU Scientific Veterinary Committee recommended grinding or leaving the teeth intact rather than clipping. This report formed the basis for Commission Directive 2001/93/EC, which was adopted into law in November 2001. In earlier drafts of this legislation teeth clipping was banned but the Directive now allows both clipping and grinding in limited circumstances. The procedures can only be carried out where “there is evidence that injuries to sows’ teats or to other pigs’ ears or tails have occurred”. In addition “before carrying out these procedures, other measures shall be taken to prevent tail-biting and other vices”. Hence, all forms of tooth resection are strongly discouraged and in the future teeth clipping may be banned."

4 comments:

ainur said...

She seems completely untrustworthy. My gut feeling screams "SCAMMER!!!1" (She probably writes with her gut feeling, I try to keep mine off the keyboard.)

Brian Wright said...

Clipping of piglet's teeth is an old, traditional practice, such as docking of tails. It has been passed on by breeders who raise pigs in confined facilities. When you pack piglets together you create a situation that increases their stress and they act out in aggressive behaviors.

When instead you allow the sow and piglets to have lots of room in which to run, play, sleep and eat, the stress is much lower and they tend to be much less aggressive. In that environment, clipping teeth and docking tails is simply not necessary.

However, people who are new to raising pigs learn how to do it by talking with long time breeders and copy what they see; which unfortunately includes practices that are done just because "that's the way we've always done it".

We raise all of our livestock on pasture with lots of room for natural behaviors. We don't clip teeth and they do just fine. When you treat your animals humanely they are very easy to manage and they get to live a natural life, without human induced stress.

Brian Wright
Homegrown Acres

Tinet said...

Thank you for your comment, Brian! You said some very wise words. It does seem a bit strange to me that people would take up breeding pigs - pet pigs, at that! - when they don't know much about pig behaviour and apparently rely on factory farm practises of raising pigs.

Anyway, I wish people could learn to eat less meat of better quality, from farmers like you, and that factory farming would be eliminated.

100animals said...

We raise a lot of ranch animals and raise them naturally. We have had pasture pigs for a year. We are expecting babies within the month for the first time. We too were told to clip the needle teeth, which just horrified me. I suspected that the obscene way that most swine are raised contributed to the biting problems, so it is nice to read another view about it.