November 21st, 2016 – the butchering of piglets
Today is the day our piglets were butchered. We dropped them off at the butchers yesterday. It took us 2 hours to get 5 out of our 6 piglets into the trailer (we just gave up on the last one since he was just too spooked). You might think why is she talking about this – ‘b’pig deal – millions of pigs get slaughtered every day.
Well this is the 1st time I have ever done this.
- This year was a first for me to be a human mom to a sow, Mrs. Chow, who had her 1st litter with us thanks to our boar, Mr. Wu (check out Deadwood) and his ‘studding’ efforts.
- It was the 1st time I was present for the birth of piglets.
- It was the 1st time I have helped raised piglets from birth, only the 2nd time raising a piglet with Mr. Wu being 3 months old when we got him.
- It was the first time we had to care for a sow who was pregnant.
- It was the first time caring for 11 piglets, 5 for 2 months and 6 for 7 months.
- It was the first time I sent piglets off to slaughter.
Last night I woke up several times feeling a stroke of sheer terror. I was okay with this feeling this was rightly deserved since the last 24 hours of our piglets’ lives would be also one of fear. I will never forget the sight of the five of them huddled together, lying down at one end of the trailer, not moving except for some barely visible trembling. This will be the last image I have of them. I had to coax them out since they just wouldn’t move even when we opened up the back of the trailer. They were just looking at me with their beautiful eyes.
I was concerned that there would be a smell of death that would freak them out as we got them off the trailer and into the stall at the butcher. This ended up being effortless thanks to the lure of food as usual. I thought at least they are okay enough to want to eat.
I had wanted to sit with them for some time just to hang out with them on their 2nd to last day on this earth, giving them belly rubs, talking to them soothingly. I had also wanted to hang out with them during these past few weeks but unfortunately the area where they got to hang out for the past several months had become practically just one giant mud bog due to all the rain we had had in the last many weeks. It was quite the challenge to walk around the area in order to put their feed so that it didn’t just disappear into the mud.
There is something very special about pigs – we know how intelligent they are, more so than dogs. You can see it in their eyes. We had harness trained Mr. Wu from the time we got him (an idea we got while we visited Cuba) so he, Mrs. Chow and the little ones felt comfortable around us. We didn’t want them to fear us so we hung out with them. we took them on walks around our property. We wanted to give them a good quality of life which I feel we fully provided. I take some solace in this.
My one thought was that we have to go back to doing the butchering on our own homestead. It just isn’t right that we have someone else to the dirty work.
This process has renewed my anger towards all the folks who say they care about animals but then they go to the grocery store, buy their meat, cook it up and enjoy it without a care in the world. What a bunch of hypocrites. I am not saying we all need to be raising and killing our own animals/meat, but if you are not prepared to do it yourself then don’t eat it!