Viva!Life issue 62

 

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Welcome to our big pig issue

Pigs have played a pivotal role in my life. It was the pleading look of an ill boar, incarcerated in a shed, that tore at my heart when I was a teenager and sowed the seeds of Viva!.

Viva!Life issue 62

Less than a month ago, I secretly filmed at an award winning farm which boasts on its web site that the pigs are kept inside for their own good and are in “cosy barns” producing “bacon that dreams are made of”.

Turn to page 41 to see the stark reality. Mother pigs were lying on concrete in metal barred cages; rotting dead piglets were scattered around the aisles, along with placentas. The older piglets were trapped in concrete boxes with absolutely nothing to do. And these poor animals are essentially wild boar. They have been bred to produce more ‘meat’ but very little has altered in the way they think and feel.

As my feature on page 10 shows, given half a chance, factory-farmed pigs will, remarkably quickly, revert to living naturally in the wild. They are nature’s explorers – spending up to eight hours a day foraging and investigating the world.

One of my favourite photos of all time is on page 10 – see the wild mother collecting grasses for her nest and contrast this to how 60 per cent of all UK sows are treated – giving birth in crates.

Another harrowing aspect of factory farming is the impact it is having on medicine. Factory farms are reliant on drugs to keep animals alive in the filthy and overcrowded conditions. Half of the UK’s antibiotics are given to farmed animals and 60 per cent of these are given to pigs. Most of the rest is to chickens. This incredible overuse is a main cause of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which our government’s chief medical officer warns, “poses a catastrophic threat”.

Viva! is proud to have collaborated with Growing Box and La Verita to create a new, riveting, short thriller-doc on this topic, SWINE! - more on page 21. Watch and share at http://watchswine.today

Our footage of pigs has moved artist Philip McCulloch-Downs so much that he has created The Pig Project. It includes a series of beautiful and poignant paintings and films which combine art with reality in an incredible way. Please do have a peek on page 18.

I can’t leave Welcome without mentioning Viva! Poland. They are doing extraordinary work – having rescued 110 dogs from a shameful hellhole that was a member of the Polish Kennel Club. See page 23 for a story with a happy ending.

I’ll finish on a lighter note – food! The avocado recipes on pages 27 onwards are truly delicious. And we have some fantastic treats at all our Viva! Vegan Festivals which are building up around the nation – see page 45 and www.viva.org.uk/festivals. I hope to see you at one of them!

Yours for the animals

Juliet Gellatley
Founder & Director
Juliet@viva.org.uk
facebook.com/juliet.gellatley