If there were ever any doubt as to the ultimate motives of the Humane Society of the United States their newest video release puts it to rest.
Not only has the thinly-veiled front organization for vegan terrorists lowered the bar — even for them — by aiming their propaganda arrow smack dab in the middle of the only demographic that has exactly zero hope of thinking for themselves, in A Pig’s Tail they’re not even trying to hide their vegan agenda.
Of course, as with all brainwashing campaigns, the video is light on reality. And by that I mean almost entirely void. Let’s take a look at both the blatant and not-so-subtly implied messages in the video from an alternative hog farmer’s point of view, shall we?
HSUS Depiction: [0:35 – 0:42] Conventional pigs farms are stinkier and dirtier than their alternative “Old Farm” counterparts.
Reality: Conventional hog farms often have more sophisticated manure plans, protocols, and managing techniques than alternative hog farms. Our own alternative hog farm can be quite fragrant at times.
HSUS Depiction: [0:55 – 1:06] Farmers on conventional pig farms are sad, bumbling idiots who require manuals to do their job.
Reality: Conventional hog farmers often benefit from comprehensive on-going education that many alternative farmers lack — or willingly eschew, which is another post altogether. Speaking as an alternative hog farmer myself, we regularly study conventional farm findings, keep abreast of conventional farm news, speak with conventional farmers, and frequent educational gatherings geared for conventional farmers because of the lack of comprehensive information in the alternative farming community and the mindset with which information in that community is oft received. (I’ll give you a hint, it’s far too often not conducive to progress and positive livestock practices.)
HSUS Depiction: [1:09 – 1:11 ] Sows mourn the loss of their piglets on weaning day and into the future.
Reality: In my experience, sows do seem to remember their offspring after weaning. However, on weaning day our sows are generally rather nonchalant about the process of separating them from their pigs. By this point, the pigs are already eating solid foods and though it is a relief for her when they nurse some of the milk off, it is otherwise a chore that she seems happy to remove from her daily to-do list.
HSUS Depiction: [1:39 – 1:44] Sows are bred like machines, forced to have “about one hundred” babies. One hundred is a lot and therefore, detrimental to the sows.
Reality: Industry average for a sow is three litters. This amounts to 30-45 pigs per sow in their lifetime. Some sows will have more, some less. The sow’s ability and health determines how many she has.
HSUS Message: [1:44 – 1:54] All female pigs are kept as breeding machines while the boys are taken to an unseen and scary place to become meat.
Reality: Only a small portion of female pigs are held back for breeding — the best of the best in order to continue a line of healthy, productive pigs — this is true for responsible farms in both alternative and conventional models. In most cases, both males and females are housed together during their growing period and females that show promise are put back into the breeding herd at sexual maturity. In some cases males and females are housed separately. Contrary to the depiction in this video however, it’s not so that all the females can be bred. It’s because research shows that males and females grow slightly different and have differing nutritional needs. By housing males and females separately a farmer can feed each group to their specific needs and incrementally increase feed efficiency. On very large farms even an increase of just 1% feed efficiency can mean the difference between bankruptcy and a profit that allows the farmer to put food on the table for his or her own family.
HSUS Depiction: [1:54 – 1:57] Even farmers don’t want to eat meat when they know it comes from animals. Let’s all be vegan!
Reality: If this isn’t the money shot that puts, once and for all, HSUS’s ultimate motives on the table, I don’t know what is. The reality, of course, is that farmers and ranchers who raise animals are generally the biggest proponents of animal protein sources for a healthy diet.
HSUS Depiction: [2:50 – 2:54] See message at 1:09 – 1:11 above.
Reality: See truth at 1:09 – 1:11 above.
HSUS Depiction: [3:02 – 3:06] Conventional pig farms have dank back rooms where the filth leaks willy nilly from pipes and it can’t be removed no matter how much you mop.
Reality: I’m honestly not even sure what this room is supposed to be or why he’s mopping the floor. Absolutely zero reality in this shot, it’s included only to tug at your heart strings — actually, your child’s heart strings, since this is for kids.
HSUS Depiction: [3:16 – 3:19] Conventional pig farmers resort to extreme measures and painful handling practices first.
Reality: I have honestly only ever met one farmer who does not abide by what we call the “as little as possible, as much as it takes” rule — and he was, believe it or not, an alternative hog farmer, not a conventional one. The rule, simply put, means we take as little action as possible, and only as much as it takes to get our job done. If the pigs will happily walk from one pen to another without coercion, it’s a good day for us. If not, we’ll slowly escalate our efforts, doing as little as possible to get the job done. I have never met anyone who would resort to a prod as his first course of action.
HSUS Depiction: [3:19 – 3:21] Prods are so scary the farmer is even shaky when preparing to use it.
Reality: Do I want to be prodded? No. Do I want to prod a pig? No. But this is a vast over-dramatization of what a prod is and does. Electric fencing is routinely used on alternative pig farms for containing them on pasture. A prod, is simply the handheld version of an electric fence. It is a psychological tool for a necessary, but occasionally unpleasant job. That is, a prod, just like an electric fence, works psychologically far more than it works physically.
HSUS Depiction: [3:21 – 3:31] Electrical prods are so powerful they throw grown men from their feet and could kill a person. Therefore, they must hurt pigs tremendously.
Reality: Is a shock painful? Yes. Is it life threatening? No. Shocks of such strength so as to be life threatening would make no sense from a farmer’s point of view even if we were to toss out the entire concept of humane treatment. Shocks so strong they could kill, could permanently damage the animal’s muscle, which is the farmer’s main product and take entire animals out of production with one zap if they were to die.
HSUS Depiction: [3:33 – 3:39] Pigs — and by extension animals in general — are more compassionate than farmers and would not harm us if roles were reversed.
Reality: Pigs are opportunistic omnivores with exactly zero ethical objections to harming other living beings, including their own kind. Ask Terry Vance Garner. Oh, wait, you can’t. His pigs ate him. That’s right, his pigs, who were presumably kept in “The Old Farm” fashion, ate him.
HSUS Depiction: [3:50 – 4:11] Farmers who have seen and understand the compassionate nature of animals would never continue conventional farming practices.
Reality: Farmers who truly understand the nature of animals understand why each and every common practice employed on farms of any kind are used — even if he or she chooses not to use them him or herself. We, for instance, don’t dock tails — instead we have to employ other measures to combat tail biting and infection — but we understand why other farmers do it.
HSUS Depiction: [4:16 – 4:22] Conventional farmers are not real farmers, and they have nothing to be proud or happy about.
Reality: This one was of special interest to me since I often find myself feeling less than “real” due to the small size and start-up nature of our own farm. The reality is that conventional farmers produce, by and large, the majority of the world’s animal products. The reality is that they are feeding the world and meeting a demand set by the consumer. If feeding people isn’t something to be happy and proud about, I don’t know what is.
Of course this is nothing new, and I’ve written about it before. Some of those pieces:
Where You Have Livestock, You Have Dead Stock: What HSUS Isn’t Telling You
Only You Can Keep Animals Off Drugs
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: On McDonald’s and Gestation Crates
Why I Both Love & Hate Chipotle’s Back to The Start
Why We’re Not Vegan: On PeTA & Thanksgiving