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Pigs are smart—smarter than dogs and even 3-year-old children! And get this—they like playing computer games! It's true. But despite being just as intelligent and social as dogs and cats, in Australia pigs suffer terribly and don’t get the same legal protection as your family pet. Imagine if we had laws that only protected some people...

Pigs

Anyone who has spent time with a pig will tell you they are much like a dog. They are very playful and social. They even wag their tail when they’re excited! When not trapped in factory farms mothers build nests for their young and have even been known to sing to their babies. Pigs also enjoy sun bathing, cooling off with a mud bath, and they form close bonds with each other. In fact, they are very loyal friends...

Joanne Altsmann’s piggy companion Lulu made a hero of herself, by saving Joanne’s life after a heart attack. Lulu forced her 90 kilogram body through a doggie door designed for a 9 kilogram dog, scraping her sides to the point of bleeding. Once outside she raced onto the street and lay down on the road until a car stopped. She then led the driver back to the house, who was able to rush Altsmann to hospital.

In Australia, around 5 million pigs are killed every year for their flesh. Before being killed the majority of these animals undergo surgical procedures without pain relief and are imprisoned in overcrowded factory farms.

There is no warm welcome for piglets who are born into this world. In fact, soon after birth piglets endure excrutiating surgical procedures without pain relief, like having their tails cut off, and being castrated. They are soon taken from their mothers and locked up in crowded enclosures with hundreds of other pigs. When they are just 4-6 months old, they are forced into trucks and sent off to be killed.

You might not think it possible, but their mothers have it even worse. Pregnant pigs (sows) can spend up to 16 weeks at a time locked in tiny metal cages, so small that it’s impossible for them to even turn around. Without any stimulation, these intelligent animals can suffer from boredom and depression. And if that weren’t bad enough, before giving birth they are moved to an even smaller cell, called a farrowing crate.

Piglets have very sharp teeth. In nature, a mother just walks away when her piglets’ feeding starts to hurt her nipples. But trapped inside a tiny metal frame, she can’t defend herself and her nipples can get torn till they are hanging by a shred. Rather than give mother pigs more space to stop this happening, factory farms mutilate the piglets, by painfully cutting or grinding their teeth without pain relief.

Most mother pigs don’t survive more than 2 years on a factory farm. One in ten sows die every year at piggeries, but many more are killed because of lameness, injury or inability to get pregnant. Almost two thirds of mother pigs are ‘replaced’ every year on factory farms.

Imagine if your family pet was treated like this! Well, pigs feel pain, fear and can suffer just the same as dogs and cats. So why do we love one and eat the other? You can help put an end to this cruelty. Be a friend to pigs and take ‘em off your plate!

Next: The Truth About Chickens »

Piglets’ teeth are cut or ground, exposing the soft sensitive pulp inside. This is done without pain killers, and the pain can last for weeks.

Piglets’ teeth are cut or ground, exposing the soft sensitive pulp inside. This is done without pain killers, and the pain can last for weeks.

Crude 'surgical' instruments are used to cut off piglets' tails—and cut through bone—without an anaethetic! The excruciating pain can cause vomiting and leg shaking.

Crude 'surgical' instruments are used to cut off piglets' tails—and cut through bone—without an anaethetic! The excruciating pain can cause vomiting and leg shaking.

Male piglets scream and thrash in pain as they are castrated without pain relief.

Male piglets scream and thrash in pain as they are castrated without pain relief.

Pigs are naturally very clean animals, but in these concrete group pens they are forced to live in their own waste, with the overbearing stink of faeces in the air.

Pigs are naturally very clean animals, but in these concrete group pens they are forced to live in their own waste, with the overbearing stink of faeces in the air.

At the slaughterhouse pigs are electrically stunned or gassed, before finally they have their throat slit and are strung up to bleed to death. There’s no happy ending for these animals.

At the slaughterhouse pigs are electrically stunned or gassed, before finally they have their throat slit and are strung up to bleed to death. There’s no happy ending for these animals.

In Australia, it is legal to lock a mother pig in a barren metal cage for the full 16 weeks of her pregnancy. She can’t turn around, she can’t lie properly ... she can barely move. Imagine being locked in a phone booth for 4 months.

In Australia, it is legal to lock a mother pig in a barren metal cage for the full 16 weeks of her pregnancy. She can’t turn around, she can’t lie properly ... she can barely move. Imagine being locked in a phone booth for 4 months.

Denied mental stimulation and the ability to express natural behaviours, pigs can suffer from psychological disorders such as depression, and may exhibit abnormal tendancies such as obsessive bar biting.

Denied mental stimulation and the ability to express natural behaviours, pigs can suffer from psychological disorders such as depression, and may exhibit abnormal tendancies such as obsessive bar biting.

Before giving birth a mother pig is moved to an even smaller space where she’s treated as nothing more than a milk machine for her babies. She is barely able to move and is unable to interact with her young.

Before giving birth a mother pig is moved to an even smaller space where she’s treated as nothing more than a milk machine for her babies. She is barely able to move and is unable to interact with her young.

One in ten sows die every year at piggeries, but many more are killed because of lameness, injury or inability to get pregnant.

One in ten sows die every year at piggeries, but many more are killed because of lameness, injury or inability to get pregnant.

When not confined in factory farms, mother pigs form strong bonds with their piglets, and will go to great lengths to protect a loved one.

When not confined in factory farms, mother pigs form strong bonds with their piglets, and will go to great lengths to protect a loved one.

Anyone lucky enough to have hung out with a pig knows they are smart, playful and affectionate animals, much like the family dog!

Anyone lucky enough to have hung out with a pig knows they are smart, playful and affectionate animals, much like the family dog!

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