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Pigs in trouble!

Today, I got a letter asking for my support for the pig protection campaign. This is not a husband’s rights group. No, this is real, live pigs they are talking about and they need my help.


I am supposed to check the box that says, “Yes! I want to make a commitment today to help FREE pigs from the crate,” and send in a donation of $20-100 dollars.


I opened the solicitation envelope and said to Mark, “Quick, Honey. Get out your checkbook. The pigs of the world need us.”


He thought I was kidding. So, I read the beginning of the letter to him. It said, “If we treated dogs and cats the way we treat pigs, there would be a public outcry- and the abusers would be thrown in jail.”

I looked at him accusingly. “You aren’t going to let this outrage go on, are you?”


“I do like pigs.” He said. “I like them best as bacon. Pork is good too.”


He did not seem to understand the seriousness of this issue. I read the quote on the top of the page, which said, “Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you – give me a pig! He looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal”. . . “Winston Churchill said that!” I pointed out.


Mark sighed as if he was wondering why he got stuck marrying the girl whose name was first on the “Sucker for animals” list. I do send money to Heifer Corp regularly (I have an earnest respect for this organization) and I have sent money to the ASPCA on occasion. But I haven’t done my part to protect pigs. Of that, I am sure.


I decided there were other needy organizations that probably deserved my support more than pigs, so I threw the envelope away, but I put the letter on the coffee table. Later, waiting for dinner to cook, I picked the letter up and read it through. My goodness, the plight of pigs is dire. I started feeling really badly for these pigs that are kept in gestation crates two feet wide. Their movement is severely restricted – they can’t even turn around. They are forced to sleep, eat, and live in these metal crates and produce litters of piglets. When the piglets are three weeks old, they are torn from the mother and the breeding cycle begins again. The pigs live in this misery for several years, and then unmercifully, they are slaughtered. Not much in the way of quality of life.


As you can imagine, this kind of information supports my growing appreciation for local farming. I think it is far kinder to bring up a happy, free-range animal in your backyard even if you plan to eat it for dinner, than go to the grocery store to buy pre-packaged meat.  You may feel less guilty eating bacon when it isn’t a nice pig you have looked into the eyes of – but you are supporting inhumane pig farming practices. Anyway, once again, I found myself thinking the vegetarian life might be for me. I don’t want to be responsible for the sad lot of Winston Churchill’s pig friends, nor do I want to feed my leftovers to Bessie in my backyard to fatten her up for Christmas dinner. If you can’t win, remove yourself from the struggle, I always say.


Honest to God, I ended up sending $20 to the Pig protection campaign because the pictures of “Sugar Bear” (a rescued pig now at a Farm Sanctuary) tugged at my heartstrings.  But, I’m drawing the line at pigs. I don’t want anyone sending me sob stories about the plight of hamsters.


I made arrangements to buy an angora rabbit next Monday from my spinning teacher, Martha. (I will probably get two, a male and a female, in fact). Every three months when they naturally shed, Neva and I will gently pull the hair from their bodies while we are watching TV (Animal Planet, perhaps?). We will collect this fur and keep it with other fibers so that when I spin, I can add angora to my wool to make super soft yarns. Neva is thrilled, because these rabbits will require lots of handling to keep them tame. That’s the kind of responsibility she can really get into. She will have to brush them regularly to keep the hair from matting too. She gets a pet to fuss with and I get raw angora for spinning. Talk about a win-win situation.


The only bad thing about it is, I was told that you mustn’t over-feed angora rabbits. In fact, the fur is better if you keep them undernourished. Are you kidding me? Like I’m not going to visit that cage with leftover salad and carrots and other goodies? I’m thinking I might be the only woman on the planet that has bulletproof angora. Ah well, I will try not to spoil them, but they have to promise not to look at me with those innocent, pleading eyes, like my dogs at the dinner table. 


Speaking of treats, Dahli Llama has finally learned to like horse cookies. Now, he hangs around after we feed him, hoping for an extra tidbit. He is getting more and more tame, thanks to his sweet tooth. Love that.


Since I am on the subject of animals today, I will tell you I also almost bought a rooster this afternoon. I was at the feed store and saw this huge rooster in a cage out front. I asked about him. The owner said he was a pet, but the previous owners have to get rid of him because he has such a huge, loud crow. He is like the Ethel Merman of roosters. My eyebrow lifted and I said, “He’s that loud, is he? And he’s been a pet, so he is tame?” Humm……… bingo.


I almost bought him on the spot, but he is awfully big, and I was told he might beat up my little chickens at home because they are still rather young. The woman working at the feed store told me I should ask the owner if she believes he will get along with my flock before I take him home. So I will go back tomorrow and hope I get the answer I want. Do I need to point out how badly I covet a huge, loud rooster? Ha. Finding one already grown, with a foghorn like crow, is like Christmas coming early.


Speaking of Christmas, Mark and I decided not to exchange gifts this year, because we are going to buy a flat screen TV for our bedroom. But that hasn’t stopped me from making a wish list for fun. At the top of the list is a Donkey cart. I think any girl with a donkey, deserves a cart, don’t you? How cute would that be, to rig up Donkey and take a spin around the land? This way, non-riders (older people, little kids, and/or big, fat sissies) can join the outdoor Hendry experience when they visit  Donkey can wear a little hat with a hole cut out for his ears and I can even decorate his cart for the holidays.


Mark logically pointed out that the donkey doesn’t know how to pull a cart, and he’d rather our donkey not have to live with ridicule when the other animals see him all gussied up like a queer-bo.

“He doesn’t know how to pull a cart  yet.” I said. “And a dapper donkey is a thing of beauty, hardly something to make fun of. I will only put him in the most stylish sorts of hats.” I promised . . . with my fingers crossed behind my back..


I honestly think I could figure out how to train a donkey to pull a cart. I’ll look it up on the internet. How hard can it be?  So, I am keeping my eyes posted for some kind of donkey cart. They have some pretty strange things in the Georgia trader – I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I would love to find an old beat up cart that needs refurbishing – something cheap. That would be a fantastically fun project.  I could paint it in whimsical ways, maybe even shellac it with old time pictures.   I mentioned to Mark that he could probably build one if we bought the wheels. He could, of course, but he didn’t say anything, so I guess that is a “no” – at least until he has a house and we have some furniture. Bummer.


Last but not least, I thought you might like to know I bought a ticket to the upcoming cow paddy bingo event. I know that makes you jealous. They sell tickets for 5.00. A huge area of downtown Blairsville (next-door town) is sectioned off with numbers and a well-fed cow is led around in a circular pattern. When he drops his “paddy”(the crowd goes wild), the person with that number has bingo and wins 500 bucks! I kid you not. This is our idea of Friday night entertainment here in Blue Ridge. It is a fundraiser, so I couldn’t resist. I’ve never been a cow paddy bingo winner before, and you know how I like adding accomplishments to my résumé. I’m thinking a 500 dollar windfall would buy a pretty cool donkey cart.


I have to get back to my homework. (Big bored sigh.) I must work my brain until I get tired enough to sleep without dreaming. Otherwise, I think a zoo will haunt me tonight. (Rabbits, Donkeys and Pigs, oh my)


Sleep tight.  







About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

One response »

  1. Well this blog is a classic. Had us all laughing and remembering the Hamster that lived forever. If there was a support group for hamsters you would certainly join in !! P.S. note to Mark. Happy cart hunting.



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