My Letter to NWI about Fair Oak Farms Pig Adventure

Fair Oaks Farm "Pig Adventure" teaches children about factory farming. photo: John Luke, The Times

Fair Oaks Farm “Pig Adventure” teaches children about factory farming. photo: John Luke, The Times

In response to an article in the North West Indiana Times entitled Fair Oaks Farms’ latest innovation goes hog wild, I wrote the following letter to the editor:

Dear Mr. Nagle:

I found NWI Times’ coverage of Fair Oaks Farm’s so-called “Pig Adventure” both disturbing and disgusting — not just for its blatant glorification of factory farming, but in how uncritically NWI appears to have “rubber stamped” the Fair Oaks Farm press release without looking critically at this tragically absurd “public exhibit” of animal exploitation and suffering. Why does NWI withhold any opinion on such a nightmare scenario for animals in the very opinion section?

Don’t your editorial writers have an opinion on something as transparently cruel and disgusting as the factory farming of pigs?

Can they not see from the pictures NWI photographers took that there is blood on the floor of the pig crates where the mother sows are forced to live? Do they not have an opinion on highly-conscious and sentient animals being forced to live in gestation crates the size of their bodies?

How about an opinion on artificially inseminating female sows repeatedly through their short, miserable lives thereby forcing them into a cycle of pregnancies to pump out babies that will be stolen from them after a short period of nursing?

How about an opinion on the castration and teeth cutting and other bodily mutilations of piglets with no pain killers which is routine practice in pig farming?

How about the dumping of baby piglets in the bins outside of the rows of crates, as if they were trash?

How about the fattening up of these same piglets to slaughter them in their adolescence (a fraction of their natural lifespan)?

How about the actual slaughter which remains hidden from public view? Does anyone have an opinion on electrocuting young pigs to cause them to have a grand mal seizure to render them unconscious, then shackling them by their legs, hanging them upside down and slashing their throats as is standard practice?

Don’t your opinion writers have an opinion on turning nonhuman animal individuals who have unique thoughts and feelings into objects by putting them on display as if they were widgets in a factory assembly line for children to then conclude they are indeed objects and not really animals?

Does anyone on your staff really believe that living beings can be turned into things? Does none of this incredibly abysmal treatment of animals stir any empathic response from your opinion writers? Surely there must be just one staff writer there that has some tinge of doubt about this story that could have written a thought-provoking piece?

Why is it that other major media sources can report on this situation critically and NWI has “opted out”?

About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the founder and director of Free from Harm, a non profit animal rescue, education and advocacy organization. Robert is the author of over 500 articles on Free from Harm and is particularly interested in the advocacy of chickens and turkeys who collectively represent 99% of the animals exploited for food. He shares his life with a flock of rescued hens and a rescued homing pigeon. You can email Robert at robert@freefromharm.org. And you can find him on Google+ and Twitter.

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7 comments

  1. Your letter inspired me to write my own:

    Dear Mr. Nangle,

    I found the article on the Fair Oaks Farm’s Pig Adventure exhibit deeply disturbing. The “adventure” perpetuates the notion that animals are ours to use, abuse, imprison, breed, mutilate, kill, and exploit for their body parts, that they are just animals to put on display, that they have no feelings or wants or desires beyond being “food” for humans, that they lack sensitivity and intelligence. The “adventure” shows the public half truths about the way animals are treated on “modern” factory farms. Will the public see, for example, how they notch the ears, cut off the tails, and pull out the testicles of baby animals without pain relief, all while the animals are screaming in pain and terror, often in earshot of their frantic mothers? Will they witness the milking of semen and the forced impregnation of the sows? Will they see how undersized piglets are “euthanized” by having their heads smashed to concrete to kill them? Will they see the animals’ intense suffering in the throes of their own brutal and premature slaughter? No, the public won’t see any of the awful truths of factory farms and “food” production, just the cute little piglets before they enter the cold, harsh system that leads to their untimely deaths. This is just another industry lie.

    Jan Weeks

  2. thank you for writing such a powerful and truthful letter Robert. we can only hope that it will be published. what struck me after seeing the hideous, concentration camp confinement and abuse picture of the innocent, helpless pigs was the side stories reporting the rape, violence and murder of human animals. the amount of disconnect we have as a society to not see how these human crimes are connected to the crimes involving non-human animals is truly staggering.

    “May we ponder deeply the wisdom of the Golden Rule before it’s too late, and begin to actually live it with respect to the animals who are at our mercy. Otherwise, our future may be horribly grim: all that we force others to experience, we will eventually end up experiencing ourselves.” – Will Tuttle

  3. Excellent letter. I hope the paper prints it and follows up with an actual investigation of the facility (although that seems to be asking too much nowadays with the current state of the “news”). One of the saddest things of this whole sad problem of animal abuse is that we are fighting the same battles (horse abuse, farmed animal abuse, trapping, seal hunts, pigeon (and various other shoots) that early activists were fighting in the 19th century. We’are also fighting the same cultural indifference, religious ideology, troll comments/accusations, and big money influence as then.

    I would like to hear the meetings in organizations like PETA and the HSUS of how to keep up membership support and motivation in the face of powerful obstacles and defeats. So frustrating to keep trying to help no matter what and to realize that so little ever changes. But it’s simply a moral fight we can’t give up.

  4. Definitely a different view point on the letter. Can’t argue with it in some ways. I am trying to understand both sides of these arguments (PETA, vegan, farmers, ranchers) I would like to hear some of the arguments you have against livestock production. With reasoning of course.
    Thanks,
    Look forward to hearing from all of you!!!

    • John89, I highly recommend sociologist Melanie Joy’s presentation on Carnism at http://freefromharm.org/videos/educational-inspiring-talks/carnism-the-psychology-of-eating-meat-a-special-video-presentation-by-melanie-joy/.

      And after you watch the presentation, I would turn the question back to you: what “reasoned” arguments do non-vegans have for continuing to force animals to suffer when we have no biological need to eat them and when we can live healthy lives without harming anyone? I have yet to hear any “reasoned” responses to this question, just more of the conventional justifications, what Melanie Joy refers to in her presentation as the three N’s of justification: eating animals is normal, natural and necessary, which she thoroughly debunks in this same presentation.

    • Hi John89!

      While I could put forth some great “reasoned” arguments for you, the following message from an autistic person on our Facebook page is probably the best reasoned argument I’ve seen for being vegan. This was in response to a post on Temple Grandin and whether she could feel empathy for animals as an autistic person:

      “I have Asperges, and yes, I find it hard to connect on the emotional scale. But luckily, it doesn’t matter, because you don’t need emotion to look at the rationale of injustice, but just what is fair.

      I am vegan, because of recognizing injustice. I don’t think one has to love an animal, nor have compassion, in order to not kill them. I hate insects with a passion, but I won’t harm them because of a personal bias (that still needs to improve).

      I think she [Temple Grandin] is just an advocate for the industry, that just so happens to have autism. And that the [meat] industry just simply uses her as a marketing strategy.” — Duncan Bachelor Dixon

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