A day two pigs would die: ethical slaughter
July 12th, 2010
12:30 AM ET
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There's no pretty way to say this. I was present for the death of the pig pictured above.

It was a grim, sodden day on an upstate New York farm. A local meat sciences professor named Eric explained to the pig's owners that the most humane method of slaughter was to shoot it at close range between the eyes with a .22 rifle - a stunning blow to knock its central nervous system offline - then slit the main artery so the blood loss would bring about swift, arguably less painful death. The blow would also supposedly reduce the stress on the animal, allowing for better meat quality.

The farmers, having researched the matter thoroughly and consulted with the Humane Animal Farm Care project, believed this to be true. Still, as they stood several yards from the slaughter, half sheltered in the doorway to their goat barn, they flinched at the stark crack of the rifle, and then they cried.

They can certainly be excused for that. This was their first slaughter - mine, too - and it's a shocking act. As the farmers' friend and neighbor, I'd met Porky and Bess (the first death was followed swiftly by a second) only a handful of times, tossing cucumbers and corncobs from the farm's vegetable garden into the lopped-off silo in which they were penned. They were affable, loud as all get out and smelled to hell and back. It was always a bit bittersweet to check in on them, marking their maturation from wee piglets into fully grown hogs, knowing that that someday soon, they'd be dispatched and turned into food.

For as charming and vibrant as they are, it is simply impractical to keep pigs as pets on a farm. They don't produce milk like the farm's dozens of goats, can’t be sheared for wool like their sheep, don’t lay eggs, herd, chase vermin or scare away predators. They're simply not useful, from a strictly practical standpoint, so to buy and raise a piglet is a commitment to turning it into food. That doesn't make the act of their slaughter any easier to watch.

Josh Kilmer Purcell and Brent Ridge
, the pigs' owners, are fledgling farmers and yes, they have a reality show about it - Planet Green's 'The Fabulous Beekman Boys' - but they are by no means unserious when it comes to the welfare of the animals they raise.

The vast majority of the Beekman Farm's livestock, over 120 goats at last count, along with chickens, a turkey or two and a llama who earns her keep as comic relief are housed in a clean, spacious barn. They are tended to, most affectionately, by Farmer John, who knows the name of every single animal on the premises. He, along with help from Brent (who lives there full time) and Josh (who commutes back and forth between Manhattan and Sharon Springs, New York) feeds them, cleans the barn, grooms them when needed (a llama's coat can get terribly matted) and harvests the goat milk that's used to make the Beekman 1802 soap and Beekman Blaak cheese that, in addition to Josh's salary as an advertising creative director, sustains the farm.

Walk into the barn, and roughly 120 heads crane in your direction and acknowledge your presence with a friendly baa. It's a really warm, friendly place to be. The pigs' sunken silo was like that, too. Porky and Bess would caper around the perimeter, accepting offerings of whole vegetables, wallowing in the mud, luxuriating in the sun or nestling together in the cool of the shade.

It's a comfortable place for a pig to be, which is why Eric advised that the slaughter take place there. Experts agree that often, the most traumatic part of the process takes place when an animal is uprooted from its home and led to an unfamiliar location, separated from its brethren, so Porky and Bess were killed where they lived.

For safety and filming reasons, I was tucked back in the barn, watching from a production monitor, and still overcome, Josh wandered over. He's a quick, funny man who wears his emotions right under the skin. Though the tears were no longer flowing, he was still wiping them away and was slightly choked in tone.

"I was worried...Brent and I were so worried that they'd kill the first one and the other one would be so traumatized, seeing its friend die. But Eric shot and the other one ran from the noise - and then came back and started eating like nothing had happened. I thought there would be more…"

He trailed off. I knew what he meant: Sorrow. But there wasn't - only a few minutes while the pig was still a pig, bleeding on the ground from a small neck wound, looking for all the world like it would roll back on its feet and get back to the business of rooting.

Eric and his two colleagues quickly attached the back legs of each pig to hook, chained onto a tractor and hauled the carcasses out of the pen to process, hanging, while they were still fresh. These things are calculated to take place on a cold, autumn day for longer working time and minimal stench.

I was allowed to emerge from the barn. This is why I was there. I'm not a morbid person by nature, but rather joyful and celebratory of all forms of life. My husband and I have two dogs, including an ex-racing greyhound and two rescued rabbits. We live among and adore animals of many species.

I was not there to exalt in the death of these pigs. Rather, I needed a gut check. While I spent seven years as a vigilant vegetarian, I am now a meat eater, and write frequently and passionately about my fondness for offal like sweetbreads, liver, tail and tongue. I love the flavor and rich history of these otherwise discarded and overlooked parts of animals. To many offal eaters, the enjoyment thereof is a sign of respect to the animal from which they came. If you're going to take away its life, you might as well use the whole thing.

I'd thought long and hard and made a bargain with myself. If I couldn't go and be courageous enough to see an animal I'd known alive, dead and turned into food, I had no right to keep on writing about it - or perhaps even eating it. If these animals were going to be forced to be sacrificed against their will, it was only right of me to use my own to be there, in witness.

Eric and his team made very short work of the pigs, flaying, beheading, gutting and cutting off the feet. In a matter of minutes, the creatures that had been Porky and Bess, snuffling in the mud just that morning, became a commodity.

Eric worked neatly and methodically, flaying off the pelt with a long, wickedly honed knife. In a manner befitting his professorial status, he explained each part to me as he unspooled it, steaming, shiny and shockingly clean from the hog's belly. Here's the liver, these are the kidneys - we'll toss this one out because I feel something hard - this is the "pluck" which is the lungs, et cetera. Don’t want that? Okay. Here are the intestines and the bladder. Make sure you don't nick them with the knife. You want the heart? Okay. In the bag it goes. If you're taking the pelt, I recommend using boiling water to get the fur off.

I listened and took pictures so I could remember for later. This felt like meat class, rather than a memorial service, and in that, I felt oddly comforted and numbed.

The meaty parts - belly, haunches and so on - were hauled away to a processing facility to be turned into the ham, bacon, ground pork, lard and chops on which the Beekman residents would sustain themselves all winter. The offal - including the pelts, heads, feet, tails and innards - were handed to me in plastic bags so I could take them back home and process them to be eaten.

This was, quite literally, my gut check - standing in my yard with a clear plastic bag, filled with the unsorted intestines, stomachs, and other warm, quivering innards of an animal I'd seen alive just an hour before. I stuck my hands in, extracted the lacy caul fat (prized as a delicacy in classical French cooking) and uncoiled the many yards of small intestine.

From a separate bag, I hauled out the pelts and sawed off the tails and ears. Time was running short and the sun was emerging, so I stopped short of shaving the furrier parts - necessary before consumption. The saying goes that it's possible to eat "everything but the squeal" from a pig, but I've yet to find someone who's happy chomping into a mouthful of bristly pig hair. Once all the parts were sorted - I ran out of time for the stomachs and large intestines and left those for a friend's boyfriend to come and haul off for coyote bait - I lugged all the offal inside for packaging and refrigeration and spent the next hour washing, rewashing, washing again and then yet again the small intestines that Josh and I would eventually stuff with ground pork for sausage links.

Like Josh, my husband and I, much as we'd love to, can’t spend all our time upstate, so we packed the food into coolers and trucked it the four hours down to Brooklyn, praying for gentle traffic flow and no overly inquisitive state troopers. In the car, I sent a text message to my friend, former Gourmet Magazine test kitchen chef Ian Knauer, another fan of offal, and avid hunter.

Ian came over later that week, toting a canteloupe-sized hen of the woods mushroom he'd foraged from his land in Pennsylvania. Under his expert guidance, we crafted a deep, earthy, cognac-laced pork liver pate and a star anise-accented head cheese, complete with a middle layer of apple dice - a play on the fruit often served in the mouth of a roasted pig.

I tuned out for a few minutes, focusing on shaking up a sidecar cocktail. While Ian is an accomplished chef, I'm an avid amateur - but I'm serious about my cocktails and know when I can be of use. When I handed him his drink, he pushed over a bowl. "Eat this."

While I'd been turned away, he'd shaved and rendered down a patch of the pig pelt from which I'd doggedly been carving fat. The cracklings he'd made were perfectly crunchy, soulfully flavored, purely and utterly pig.

I took a moment, nodded upward to the memory of Porky and Bess, and reached for another handful.

Learn more about ethical slaughter at certifiedhumane.org and share your thoughts in the comments below.



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soundoff (842 Responses)
  1. antjierie

    By the end of the article I had lost all respect for the writer and all hope for the human race. Watching two animals grow, getting to know them, then watching them getting slaughtered and after that eating their body parts.... There's something completely gruesome and deranged about it. I almost feel as if I would feel unsafe in the presence of such a person. @VeganLogic, thank you, you give me hope.

    March 31, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  2. Fitness Events 2014

    I agree with Diane. There is NO SUCH THING as "ethical slaughter" Shame cute pig!

    January 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Provoked

      Could I witness? In what context? Is my life hinged on the death and consumption of this victim? Then yes... I could do a lot of things that go into the urgency of saving one's own life. But when there are abundant choices and options??? Never! It would be like willingly witnessing a lynching. It may sound boastful, but I'm far too fond of myself to ever become part of the murdering mob.

      March 30, 2014 at 12:10 am | Reply
  3. educated

    This article is horrifying and disgusting. The amount of ignorance in these comments it ridiculous. The fact is, at the end of the day, it's still murder. Killing someone weather it's a human or an animal is wrong. The fact that our society only sees animals as being there for humans to use is disgusting.

    September 5, 2013 at 3:51 am | Reply
    • Thread Police

      What's "disgusting" watching someone struggle over the simplest words. "Weather" is the state of atmosphere; "whether" is the word for pointing out alternatives. Way more eye-averting than eating meat.

      September 5, 2013 at 6:50 am | Reply
      • Darsh

        Funny.. the tagline is "educated"

        November 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  4. Allison Duncan

    You gave the offal for coyote bait? The coyotes are ok, right?

    June 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  5. Small Farm Girl

    To those of you saying animals in the U.S. are tortured before slaughtered do some non-bias research (not on any animal rights group website or propaganda). Go tour a meat processing plant near you and learn from a agricultural university, farmer how animals are treated and slaughtered. I don't have a problem with anyone eating differently than me but don't tell me how to eat and I won't tell you what/how to eat. Most videos from processing plants are set up to get fools to believe them...

    June 23, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  6. Ol' Rooter

    If God didn't want us to eat animals, he/she would not have made them out of meat.

    June 23, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Reply
    • educated

      I'm pretty sure you're also made out of meat. I guess you should also be eaten, if that is your argument.

      September 5, 2013 at 3:34 am | Reply
  7. NB

    Last year, we had our first steer slaughtered. It was in the same manner as described in the article. My children (at the time, ages 6, 9, and 11) were all there; we arrived just after the gunshot and stayed for the approximately 3 hours it took for the slaughterer to finish. My older two children wept. The man who did the slaughtering was professional and, as a previous comment implied, the most humane of all options for slaughtering an animal. He explained everything he did along the way. It was emotional, but that's the point. I maintain that if one chooses to eat meat, then "meeting your meat" is an imperative.

    Whether or not eating meat is ethical is a matter of opinion, and although I used to think that eating meat was wrong, I do not believe that now. What I do believe is that if we eat meat, we should know what that entails – and not even just that it came from an animal. I think seeing the animal (especially as we did, almost every day, on the hillside or laying down in the grass) as a living creature, and then experiencing the emotional impact of seeing it laying dead on the ground, puts it into a perspective that you just can't get from a styrofoam tray with some plastic wrap around it. We will be having our second steer slaughtered later this summer. We will go again to watch. It's not a thrill, it's certainly sad, but I'd rather go than pretend it doesn't matter.

    June 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  8. Diane

    There is NO SUCH THING as "ethical slaughter"
    Perhaps "Less inhumane" but still it is SLAUGHTER.
    Meat is murder.
    Do yourself and the planet a favour – go VEG
    :)

    June 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  9. Tommy

    The only reason I eat lots of chicken and cow is because they tried to frame dolphin and whale for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. F**k you a-chicken and a-cow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  10. farmgirl

    I have to disagree with the writer's comment about pigs "They're simply not useful, from a strictly practical standpoint, so to buy and raise a piglet is a commitment to turning it into food." Pigs are incredibly useful on a farm. They are great at turning the soil and cleaning up the garden beds. After I've finished harvesting in a particular garden area, I fence it off and turn the pigs into it. They take care of all the left over plants and turn the soil up beautifully. All I have to do when I'm ready to plant again is level out the soil. Pigs are cheaper than tractors, don't put out exhaust fumes and are much cuter!

    June 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  11. Ryan

    Kat, I do respect you for forcing yourself to "meet your meat." Most people wouldn't have the courage. But I'm curious, as a former "villigilant vegetarain" for seven years, what changed in your concious, you moral center, that allowed you to go back to contributing to the slaughter of animals for your personal pleasure? You clearly still experience some feelings of guilt on the subject. So did you just decide that doing the right thing wasn't worth it anymore? That it was too difficult? This article disappoints me on so many differnt levels.

    June 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Reply
    • Mark@Ryan and Kat

      Where in the article does she use the term "personal pleasure?"

      June 2, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
      • educated

        Once you're eating someone else because they taste good, that's when it's for personal pleasure. It doesn't matter if you use the term or not

        September 5, 2013 at 3:42 am | Reply
  12. cynos

    Meat is one of those things that people view very strongly, because it gives them pleasure. It contains substances that cause a feeling of relaxation. But check the Bible - anything that gives pleasure is something that makes people forget about what is important. Therefore it is heavily policed. I don't care what people eat but it is terrible to see any animal, be it dog, cow, or lamb, tortured to death. I love meat as much as anybody. However, the methods employed must be humane. Anyone who has a heart would agree with me.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  13. Hearher

    I am an over the road drivers wife and we hit almost all
    Of the states I have past every kind of farm and
    Slaughter house possible they all smell of what they
    Are death but as my husband gasps for air im ok
    I have seen many deaths I would be ok.now when i was little
    I had a few chickens i thought were my pets untell they got
    Big and dad cut them up for dinner he showed me
    They are not pets they are food and i grew up in Ca on an Acer of land
    We grew our own food i miss that at times but progress came at times it feels like a down grade.

    February 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  14. Flynnycat

    wow. this article, and most of the comments, sum up everything that is wrong with humankind. "i ate monkey brains out of a living monkey"...wtf is wrong with you? whether animals are "pets" or not has nothing to do with anything....would it have been okay for "massas" to eat their black slaves? gawd, you morons, wake the hell up.

    August 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  15. mark richards

    Pigs are very, very intelligent animals. According to numerous scientific studies, they rank just below Orcas, whales and dolphins on the scale of intelligence. A 12-year vegetarian, I now eat meat occasionally. I know better, but I still eat meat. I find some of these articles so pretentious. Killing animals for human pleasure - food, fur, ornaments, "sport," etc., - is nothing to be proud of. We're all lesser for it.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:19 am | Reply
    • Ryan

      Then why do you do it?

      June 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  16. hanibal lector

    I like to eat human beings. Anyone have a freshley shaved pussy that wants eaten

    August 22, 2010 at 9:46 am | Reply
  17. gio

    What a horrifying article.

    The stench of these meats ad the brutality of killing animals is just revolting.

    You can rationalize all you want, but if you had to kill animals for your meat, your'd be a egan.

    August 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  18. Earthling

    The Fact is: No Animal has to die for you to live.

    August 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  19. Theresa Johnson

    While this is all very interesting I've got something to share with you all. I just saw this ad under the report of another[3] police officer being killed in Chicago. Get it? 3 dead policemen in 2 months and then "2 pigs slaughtered"! What were they thinking! If you find this as awful as iIdo please contact CNN and tell them about it. These men that protect us every day deserve better than this.

    July 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • Carney Vore

      You make a good point, but I don't think CNN did that deliberately. What is really freaky and scary is that two pigs being slaughtered for food brings more wailing and gnashing of teeth than the murder of three police officers. Those officers put themselves in harms way day in and day out to keep us safe. Their tragic end should generate countless millions times more comments expressing outrage and unhappiness than some non-event like livestock being turned into food.

      You see the moral corruption and societal degeneration that occurs when some people equate humans and animals? Just look above for some good examples.

      July 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Reply
      • Joseph

        The only reason these sort of commentaries become much more extended is because of disagreement from individuals like you. Society agrees that the death of a police officer is a tragic thing. But the callousness of the human species has thus far prevented animals from earning similar respect. Do you see the moral corruption and societal degeneration that occurs when people fail to equate humans and animals? The only difference with my claim, is that where the presence of vegetarians can't be construed as harm by means of any actual evidence, I can point towards the harm caused by meat-eaters across multiple spheres of society. Since when did being vegetarian cause the massive inflation of economic costs of health care and environmental damage? Or the inability to feel guilt about causing suffering to living, feeling creatures? The only morally corrupt individual here is the one who would rather charge animal rights activists with wrongdoing before ever examining the same possibility within themselves.

        July 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  20. Waggy Mow

    Awww, that pig is so cute. I suddenly have lost my craving for bacon!

    Lou
    http://www.privacy-tools.be.tc

    July 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  21. Jo Anne

    We may have evolved technologically, but we are still in the cave spiritually and emotionally. There are times when we must kill and that is for humane reasons and for self protection. As a supposedly "evolved" species (of which I personally can see no evidence) we are still propelled by what our baser brain dictates. We are unable to drag ourselves out of our base cravings and behaviors. We are very lazy. We will continue to kill, torture, maim and have little if any respect for other lives (even within our own species). Other animals don't perform abortions, yes they may eat their young if the young are ill. We perform abortions for convenience. Now which species is more evolved? The person witnessing the slaughter of these two pigs, I don't understand her reasoning. Maybe she felt if it would physically hurt her, she may not eat meat again. It did not hurt her. It killed the pigs and that is all. She walked away alive and in no pain and with pig parts. So if It did not effect her, then it is OK. She is only thinking about herself. She is unable to empathize with other creatures. I would not want her as my mother.

    July 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  22. Jac

    Very sad and cruel. I'm shocked, once again.

    I was 14 when I first witnessed a pig slaughtering. I see the poor little pig's eyes, in tears. I was heartbroken.
    Since then I swore to myself not to allow this to happen, ever again to any living creatures. That's when I became vegan.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  23. JPRS

    The phrase "eat everything but the squeal" is an error: It should be "USE everything but the squeal." It was made famous by Upton Sinclair in "The Jungle," which you and everyone should read again and mentally update for the 21st century. Farm factory conditions remain scarcely worse for the four-legged animals than for the two-legged ones who work there, a social context that is missing from many critiques of the current food industry.

    The squeal statement was supposedly made by one of the factory owners like Armour, who in the 1890s could harvest all the humanly edible parts of the pig, including "livers and lips" for spiced canned and preserved products, and then shave the bristles for brushes, process the fat for oil-based products, and grind up the bones, tendons, and gristle for animal feed.

    July 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Reply
    • Joseph

      Farm factory conditions remain scarcely worse for humans than for four-legged animals? Exactly how would you construe not being killed, maimed, and eaten being "scarcely worse?"

      I grant that factory workers do deserve better treatment, but at least they can advocate for themselves. The fact that these workers would be better off elsewhere only further exemplifies the flaws of the food industry as a whole.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Reply
      • JPRS

        I was wondering if anybody had read this. Joseph, if you read your response and then go back to to my posting, you'll see that you have misunderstood my first paragraph and managed to misquote it quite exactly. I hope that you could re-read it, and then read The Jungle, and maybe you'll understand my point. Really, it's a great book, a quick read, and quite gripping until the last 80 pages or so. And it has a lot to say about our unregulated neoliberal days here in the free-trade 2010s.

        October 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  24. Unit 34AHunt

    Illegal immigrants must be deported and returned to their nations of origin, rather than be rewarded for breaking US law. If you are wondering what that has to do with meat, the answer is that the damb CNN pop-up banner at the bottom of the Belief blog entry on the other thread keeps popping up directly over the "post reply" button. Get a clue, CNN, or at least a web designer who knows his rear end from his elbow.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Reply
    • Ronsho

      Try Proxomitron http://proxomitron.info/ – no more ads, no more popups

      July 15, 2010 at 1:09 am | Reply
  25. zoe

    The writer posts a picture of a pig, wathces them die and then eats them:
    "I took a moment, nodded upward to the memory of Porky and Bess, and reached for another handful." How cool is that? Not cool at all. This person describes the killing of a creature just as intelligent as their pet (or their freind's pet), or as the 1-year old child. And they go about eating the creature. No emotions, no regrets. A complete sociopath if you ask me.

    July 14, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  26. sac875

    Being a vegetarian and advocate for animal protection, I found this article disturbing – no surprise right. I think it is a real shame that the narrator was a vegetarian and somehow gave in and gave up on it and went back to eating meat. Anyone who can slaughter an animal or take part in sorting out the innards of a once living breathing animal definitely has some issues and needs to be committed to a psych institute. Being in this kind of environment desensitizes people and that is why animal cruelty is frequent at slaughterhouses. "The animals are going to die anyway, so who cares what we do to them.." I think the narrator needs to find their compassion and revisit their decision to go back to eating meat.. I mean, once you go veg you never go back. You go veg for life, you don't turn your back on the animals. No, pigs are not meant to be "pets" but they can live out their lives in a sanctuary with other farm animals – those who have been rescued and saved from slaughter like Farm Sanctuary, Peaceful Prairie and others. Did you know Farm Sanctuary has a location in New York?? It is a god awful shame that these pigs lives weren't spared and left in the hands of people who would've cared for them.

    July 14, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • Michael Vick

      @sac875: I'm a big meat eater. I ate monkey brain from a live monkey with a spoon in Hong Kong and even human flesh in China. Homo sapien is an apex predator. Our homo ancestors have been killing for food for millions of years. Some cultures value eating animals as fresh as possible to obtain their essence. This is the reason why some people will still eat pork off killed pig even if technology allows us to replicate meat protein in the future (like star trek).

      My biggest problem is for Josh and Brent to feel sorry everytime their meal contains Porky or Bess' remains. What's the point of eating pork if you cannot enjoy it?

      July 14, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Reply
      • zoe

        terrible

        July 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  27. Isa

    bottom line is that u r still murdering something u have no right to kill and eating something your body does not need. go ahead and have some rat poison while your at it.

    July 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • Carney Vore

      A rather totalitarian attitude, is it not? It is not your place to decide for others what rights they do or do not have.

      July 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Michael Vick

        I agree with you. I decide what rights my animals do have or don't have. If I bred dogs for food, I should be able to eat them provided that I gave them swift death with a gun. Same goes for monkeys too if I enjoy eating raw monkey brain. I just have to make sure the gun is registered and I don't have nosy neighbors around me.

        I do think human slaughter is oxymoron. It's like saying one can be an honest cheater or a racist philanthropist. Slaughter is slaughter. It's what it is. All homo species are apex predators. We kill for food. We drove mamoth and our brother Neanderthals to extinction. I just don't think we should develop feelings for the animals we will kill for food. For Josh and Brent to feel sorry everytime their meal include Porky and Bess is just stupid. It's bad for digestion and it puts emotional strain, both are unhealthy.

        July 14, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Reply
      • Laura

        I stopped consuming animal products and by-products after rescuing two piglets 13 yrs ago–they are still with me today. They are wonderful creatures and are much smarter than most humans–some of the comments on here prove my statement. It says the pigs smelled badly–that is because they didn't care for them and left them in a small pen to wallow in their urine and feces. Pigs are very clean animals and only get into mud to cool themselves and to prevent sunburn. This is a disgusting show and should not be on the "Green" channel–as there is no such thing as a meat eating environmentalist.

        July 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Reply
      • Michael Vick

        @Laura: I was waiting for someone to mention that Josh and Brent did not take good care of Porky and Bess, and you said it first. Both Josh and Brent are amateur farmers. Honestly I don't give a damn about Porky and Bess because Josh and Brent were going to butcher them and eat them anyway. They could beat the pigs up and mistreat them for all I care, I don't even care if Josh and Brent got worse quality meat because of the treatment. The fact is, they treat them like pets, then they kill them, and then they eat them. But everytime they have Porky and Bess' remain for food, they cry. WTF! These two are just pathetic sissies. The term humane slaughter fit their hypocritical nature very well.

        I respect vegetarians and meat eater all alike. People can choose what they want to eat and shouldn't be criticized. I'm a big meat eater. I eat the kind of things Andrew Zimmer would eat in the travel channel. I don't feel sorry if I have to personally behead a tiger in Southeast Asia in order to eat Tiger meat and use the bones for Chinese medicine.

        July 15, 2010 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • Carney Vore

        @Laura, you are greatly mistaken when you claim that there is no such thing as a meat eating environmentalist. If you don't believe me, go to the Sierra Club website and search on 'sportsmen at the club'.

        July 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Reply
      • VeganLogic

        Is it totalitarian to insist that all humans have the right not to be killed? Or, more accurately, that we have a duty not to kill humans? You can't possibly say that this is totalitarian.

        Well then, what is it about humans, but not animals, that creates the duty to respect their life? Trying to answer this question is more complicated than you think.

        If you say that humans are more intelligent, then you'd have to deal with the fact that mature animals are much more intelligent than 1 month old infants; yet, we have a duty to respect the life of an infant. So intelligence can't reliably be used to separate humans from animals as a criterion in deciding when to respect life.

        You might say that a human's potential intelligence provides her an entitlement to protection from slaughter, but this criterion would break down in the case of permanently mentally disabled individuals.

        The fact that "animals are made of meat" also doesn't create a reason to release them from protection, since both humans and animals are made of meat.

        Sometimes I think we respect human life because other humans suffer when humans' lives are taken. Many farmers will tell you, however, that animals mourn for long periods of time when they lose their offspring or mate. The duty to respect life because taking that life will emotionally harm others accordingly seems to apply to both humans and nonhumans.

        Some philosophers believe that humans' right to life is based on their interest in maintaining such a life. They say it is immoral to act against humans' interests in their own lives, particularly if that interest does not result in harm to others. If you believe this theory, then it appears reasonable to conclude that mature animals also have an interest in maintaining their lives. They evade direct attack and howl when captured or injured. If animals have an interest in maintaining their lives, it would appear to be our duty to respect that interest.

        In short, it appears that use of animals is usually for convenience or pleasure, reasons that do not justify the taking of any life.

        Some people believe lives must be respected because lives are sacred. They usually define sacredness by reference to religion. Some religions can be interpreted to define human life but not animal life as sacred. I can't rationally argue with what people believe their god's rules to be. I'd rather risk burning in hell, however, than take the life of another being for pleasure or convenience.

        July 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Reply
      • Michael Vick

        @VeganLogic: The real issue is that humane slaughtering is oxymoron. It's as valid as having honest cheater or gentlemanly rapist. I fully respect vegetarian's way of eating. However I don't think it's wrong if I want to bred dogs or monkeys because I love eating dog meat and monkey brain. Homo sapien is an apex predator. We kill for food. If you're going to kill Porky and Bess for food, then Josh and Brent should not get all teary whenever their meals contain the remains of Porky and Bess. If you're a carnivore, act like one and not like sissies like Josh and Brent. Be ruthless, be cruel, do not get any emotional attachment. I never treat my dogs like pets knowing that one day I will gut them and turn them into food.

        July 15, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Reply
      • Carney Vore

        @Veganlogic

        Insisting that humans have the right not to be killed is not totalitarian, it is libertarian. Equating human life with the life of livestock, which is the argument presented by most vegans, is what is totalitarian. What makes these fringe extremists think they can ram such nonsense down the throats of an unwilling public? It is one thing to insist that living things not be subjected to pain and suffering, quite another to try to force others to also trivialize human life.

        July 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • Yresim

        @VeganLogic:

        Logical reasons not to consume humans, while consuming other animals, are as follows:

        1) Cannibalism is unhealthy because, while you may be able to get SOME infectious diseases from animals, you can get ALL infectious disease from eating people.

        2) If we allowed the wholesale killing of other humans for food, it would create a societal issue. That is to say, if you could legally kill your neighbors, society would fall apart.

        Oh, and, just for the record, the socially-condoned murder of humans IS actually very much practiced in western society today. They just aren't eaten. We kill innocent people of other nations and cultures to support wars of choice. We allow our own children to die in these same wars. But, hey, it's ok, because its a war, right?

        Of course, some cultures DO eat humans, as well. But, seeing as I took your commentary to be a criticism of western culture, I thought I would respond to it on the basis of that.

        July 31, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  28. April

    I will never eat pig again...

    July 14, 2010 at 11:34 am | Reply
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