Our very first rescue, Jimmy, came to us after he was discovered lying next to his deceased mother and siblings in some woods.
We are not certain of the circumstances behind Jimmy’s predicament but it is likely that, in fear for her safety and that of her impending litter, his pregnant mother somehow managed to escape captivity.
There are many documented cases of pigs bolting and jumping from the backs of trucks en-route to slaughter. And during pregnancy, there is an especially heightened sense of protectiveness and vigilance that often drives this sort of desperate action.
Pigs are among the most intensively farmed domesticated animals. And pregnant and nursing sows are hyper-confined with the use of gestation crates and farrowing crates, which prevents them from properly preparing for giving birth and then mothering their young.
Sows who are kept in gestation cages during pregnancy (a reported 95%) make futile attempts to nest in preparation for birth. This is an exceptionally frustrating experience as they have no materials to do so and instead root around their concrete stalls and through steel bars. This activity not only causes them great stress but also injuries, such as cuts and abrasions.
Farrowing crates are equally cruel. The only difference between the two is an added space for the piglets, who are given only just enough room to nurse so that they might survive in order to one day likewise have their bodies exploited. No other interaction is possible between a mother and her offspring.
Pigs are highly intelligent and emotional beings with strong maternal instincts. Imagine, if you will, the deeply disturbing experience of being imprisoned in such circumstances with no way out, other than one day to the slaughterhouse.
There is no pretty picture to be painted when it comes to the “business” of raising animals for food.
And, in the case of reproducing pigs for profit, there is no uglier set of facts than those that are standard practice in the industry.