A Tour of Fair Oaks Farms ‘Pig Adventure’ : The First Factory Farm Disneyland

Pig Adventure Bus 2

On August 5, 2013, Fair Oaks Farms celebrated the Grand Opening of “Pig Adventure,” a breeding facility where approximately 2,700 sows are confined and artificially inseminated to produce nearly 80,000 pigs for slaughter each year. Pig Adventure joins the Fair Oaks Dairy Adventure, a 36,000 dairy cow operation that has, since 2004, doubled as an “Agricultural Disney”; on daily tours, visitors can watch calves being born, cows being milked on giant mechanized carousels, and cheese being made, among many other dairy-themed spectacles. And now, with help from major agribusiness backers (including the National Pork Board and Indiana Pork), visitors can also oooh and ahh at the more than 200 piglets born daily, then head over to the farm’s full restaurant for a Bacon and Swiss Grilled Cheese.

As I’ve written elsewhere, you could almost be fooled into thinking that Fair Oaks is some kind of Pig Appreciation and Protection Society: from the tour buses plastered with images of smiling, adorable pink piglets, to the exuberant animated pig who narrates Pig Adventure’s website, to the reverential description of Pig Adventure’s breeding and confinement operation as “The Miracle of Life Project.” The founders of this facility say it’s designed “to highlight the treatment and well being of pigs” and to demonstrate that “pork production is morally right, a noble profession and a service to humanity.” I decided to visit and see for myself. Get a glimpse of what I saw by viewing the photo gallery below, and the brief video here. (Please note: as far as we know, Fair Oaks Farms has no ties with Disneyland or Disney corporation.)


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About Ashley Capps

Ashley Capps received an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first book of poems is Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields. The recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she works as a writer, editor and researcher specializing in farmed animal welfare and vegan advocacy. Ashley has written for numerous animal rights organizations, and in addition to her ongoing work for Free from Harm, she is a writer and researcher at A Well-Fed World. For more information on her poetry or advocacy writing, please visit her website. She also runs the vegan facebook page Make Compassion Consistent.


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  2. I don’t eat meat, but after seeing pigs that are raised humanely, I see it this way…it is the same as if I lived my life on a wonderful farm, having all my needs attended to, then I was gently put to sleep with gas before I was killed. Did you know that this is what they do for pigs in the industry before slaughter? It’s true. It’s not the same as gassing animals in shelters…the pigs just drift off to sleep) Then, someone made use of my body by eating me. You can be as idealistic as you please, but you will never get everyone to comply with your wishes. I’m just saying that there are alternatives to factory farming for those who will never stop eating meat. I see it as a better way than continuing to just hope that they will see the light. It’s more realistic. You should call Niman Ranch and ask them for details on what exactly is done to the animals from birth to death. Ask them to visit one of their farms. Have you read Temple Grandin’s books? They have even hired her as a consultant to find out what might traumatize their animals from birth to death. Their animals have better lives than most humans. Of course, if you have never actually been to one of the humanely raised farms, and only speculate, you would never know this.

    • Hi Julie, I and many others in my community of animal sanctuaries have rescued hundreds upon hundreds of animals from the so-called “humane” facilities you speak of. You would be absolutely devastated to see the conditions under which these animals were discovered. Again I think you have been really indoctrinated into a myth about humane farming and you settle for half-truths and partial-truths to wash your conscience. If you want to believe in your happy meat fantasies, that gassing animals is a humane way to end their their lives in their youth, for a food source we have no biological need to eat, then who can stop you from your denial? Hitler sought gassing as part of what he believed was a “humane” Final Solution for the extermination of the Jews also. You would be in this company in your belief. And certainly you will get all of the reinforcement you need from the dominant culture that believes in humane and happy meat fantasies as you do. But if you ever choose to be honest with yourself, and want to delve deeper, this is a good place to do it. And this article is a good place to start: http://freefromharm.org/animal-products-and-ethics/a-comprehensive-analysis-of-the-humane-farming-myth/. I recommend you stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and does and eats and instead be true to what you believe in and inform yourself better about the reality of the humane myth. Then perhaps you can advocate on behalf of animals with as level of integrity and truth that they require from us.

    • Pigs are killed at 6 months old or so or even younger for sucklings. So you would have to be gassed in your adolesnce in order for your analogy to work, Julie. What human being would want to be born into this world knowing they would be killed in their adolescence, knowing that their murder was committed only to proft someone or give them some form of pleasure? Again, believing that this is accptable for animals but not for humans is absurd, finctional, mythological and downright speciesist.

    • Hi Julie,

      In our tendency to deny farmed animals a place in our circle of compassion, we fail to properly assess the gravity of the act of killing and tend to exclusively consider the conditions in which an animal lives. There is a sense that it is okay to slaughter an animal as long as she has been treated well, the “one-bad-day” scenario. In this sentiment, we fall short of extending the same recognition to animals that is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system: that taking life is the highest transgression, much worse than any crime that allows for the survival of the victim. For example, would you rather have six months in a five-star hotel and then be executed or have a lifetime in jail? Most everyone would take the lifetime in prison, even if the conditions were harsh. Because animals share similar behaviors to humans regarding their will to live, it is safe to assume that they would share the preference for living as well. Life is an animal’s most cherished possession and animals, like humans, will fight to survive. It is absurd to speak of humane treatment of animals when it comes to their handling, management, food, and shelter if you deny them the most basic right—to live out their lives—and condone or are complicit in their slaughter. Clearly, the killing of the animal is the most severe transgression, greater than any mistreatment that allows the victim to live. And because of that, our greatest concern should not necessarily be the treatment of the animal, though this is obviously very important; rather, the greatest consideration should be that the animal be allowed to live. – See more at: http://freefromharm.org/animal-products-and-ethics/the-ultimate-betrayal-is-there-happy-meat-an-excerpt-from-the-book/#sthash.BC2gRuyv.dpuf

    • Hi Julie – While I agree that certain systems may process nonhumans more efficiently or in a less cruel manner than others, the fact remains that none of this could ever be considered “humane”.
      Here’s why: Webster’s dictionary says: Hu·mane / hyoomáyn / adj. 1. having what are considered the best qualities of human beings; kind, tender, merciful, sympathetic, compassionate.

      Where does the orchestrated, for-profit-killing of healthy, sentient beings fit into the “kind” or merciful act of slaughter that the meat industry would have you believe exists?

      And of course this would all make sense *IF* we actually had to eat animals in order to live – But that just isn’t so either. It’s a fact that repeats itself more each day, that we can thrive on a plant based diet. So all this fussing about how to “humanely” kill is nonsense! There is nothing “humane” about deliberately raising animals to slaughter when there are perfectly healthy, sustainable, affordable options not to. Please stop using that word to flower up and disguise the needless acts of butchery for greed and gluttony.

      The kindest thing one can do if they want to truly be kind to animals is to stop exploiting them for our frivolous wants.

  3. Good God, another sick attempt to hide the ugly truth behind factory farming, how can be people be so blind? Take them through a tour of a slaughter-house, now that would be an honest and truthful representation of what really goes on! I wonder how many people would come out smiling and feeling good about their choices then? And then after the tour,they serve up a plate of ribs at their on-site BBQ restaurant, this is beyond sick! Again, take those same people and show them the WHOLE truth from birth to slaughter house, why leave out the kill floor it’s part of the process after all! If you’re going to eat pigs or any animals have the courage to watch their whole life cycle from birth to death, don’t turn away from the truth, if you’re buying it you are contributing to this insane amount of cruelty. Why are people so disconnected? Brain-washed? Sheeple? Open your eyes.. http://www.mercyforanimals.org/pigs/

  4. I wish that the humanely raised industry would offer something similar. I know people in the industry, and I have visited (un-announced) one of the pig farms in Lancaster, PA. I can tell you that the pigs truly are given the best lives possible from birth to death. They are kept in families, and are never stressed. Why? Because stress causes poor-tasting meat. The farm that I visited had the pigs inside a huge barn with fantastic ventilation, and room for the pigs to roam. They also had an option to go outside when the weather allows. Remember how good meat used to taste? If you are over 50, you probably do. Even if you are a vegetarian now, as I am, you remember that meat was good when you were a kid, but as you got older, it developed a “funky” taste. That’s factory farming. For those who aren’t ready to make the leap to vegetarianism, there is an alternative…certified humanely raised. Their farmers are the only farmers in this country who are guaranteed to make a profit each year. That is why they are so careful to follow the guidelines. If they slip up, they are no longer allowed to be certified.

    You can read about one humanely-raised company here: http://www.nimanranch.com/humane_animal_care.aspx be sure to watch the video! You can buy humanely raised at Whole Foods and other natural grocers. No hormones, no antibiotics, and you feel better about eating meat. It would be great if all farms were like this, but it won’t happen if people continue to buy meat off the local grocery store shelf.

    • Hi Julie, With all due respect, you are victim of humane-washing, which is a special form of brainwashing from the happy meat, dairy and egg industry marketing people. Is slaughter made “humane” simply by doing it on a smaller scale, in your own backyard or under the pretext of “strengthening your local food system.” How can slashing the throats of 6-week-old baby birds, or 6-month old adolescent-age pigs, for profit and pleasure — but not out of necessity — be consistent with acting humanely, especially when there is an abundance of cruelty-free alternatives? Why define what is “humane” against the worst case scenario of factory farming instead of the best case scenario: a world that can thrive on a plant-based diet and no longer needs to breed animals into existence for the purpose of enslaving, exploiting and slaughtering them, at all? How can we claim to value the animal’s welfare during the short period of their lives we allow them to remain alive and yet so easily and violently dispose of their lives, as if their very lives held no value at all? What does this say about our culture when people like us from the most affluent countries still feel entitled enough to harm animals for their own pleasure, even after claiming to believe that animals count morally and should therefore be given moral consideration? Isn’t this yet another example of Orwellian doublespeak? In Voltaire words, “If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.”

    • “It is a healthy, natural reaction for someone who witnesses the brutalities inflicted upon nonhuman animals in the agriculture industry for the first time, to ask, “how can we stop this from happening?”. The simple truth is that there remains only one answer, only one way to stop it from happening. We must end the consumption of animal-based products. Until then, nonhuman animals will always be placed in “livestock” conditions, they will always be exploited, they will always be abused and they will always be slaughtered. You cannot teach someone that a life-form has any real value when it is considered acceptable to enslave, kill and eat said being. Whilst humanity views nonhuman animals as resources, mere commodities, they will always be victims of our barbarity. There is no “humane” way to treat a slave and there certainly is no “humane” procedure to take a life.”

      “Passively accepting these beliefs, carnists take pride in eating “cage- free” eggs, hams from “free” pigs, cheese from the milk belonging to “humanely raised” cow’s calves, and legs from “free” dead chickens. These consumers have become washed into believing that a little improvement in egg, meat, and dairy production has stopped the harm. They settle for the slight inconvenience of choosing and paying for a different box of eggs or a non-factory-farmed slab of meat. They believe in happy death, happy meat fantasies, and thus find escape from doing what is really needed. They avoid true and effective personal change.”-Wil Anderson

  5. Wow, – this takes ‘sick’ to a whole new level! In fact words fail me. I cannot describe what I feel about the absurdity of this.

    One thing I did want to say is that I love your articles Ashley. I wish I could write and reason my arguments as well as you do. I’m wanting to create a vegan website to reach a particular target audience, and if I do I will also direct visitors to Free From Harm. I would love to somehow share some of your content at some point, as I find it to be the example and there’s no point in repeating what is said here, only translating it to other languages maybe. What do you think?

    • Thank you for your kind words, Eva. Please feel free to share or translate my articles. Thank you for your commitment to justice for animals!


  6. So, cute little piglets are shown and then there is bacon. They conveniently forget to show the cruel torture and slaughter of those pigs. What they are demonstrating is how to lie and deceive. Agri-Slaughter industry at its best – and humans at their worst!

  7. I am absolutely disgusted!!!!! I am speechless, there is no way any responsible parent should take their children to see this sort of animal cruelty!!!!! I feel SICK!!!!

  8. “Miracle of Life”? more like “Disguising slavery and Death as Fun!” what a sick, twisted industry- the lengths they go to to indoctrinate and brainwash people, especially young children, in order to disconnect them and camouflage the true aspects of violence, exploitation and brutal murder is obscene. looking at the pictures of smiling faces holding the helpless, innocent babies and knowing that the victims inevitable fate will be a horrific, painful death inflicted by a knife to the throat in a few short months makes me physically ill. if they could figure out how to make money off of it, i would not be surprised to see a theme park based around dog fighting.

    “A universe is indeed to be pitied whose dominating inhabitants are so unconscious and so ethically embryonic that they make life a commodity, mercy a disease, and systematic massacre a pastime and a profession.”- J. Howard Moore

  9. This is truly disgusting–but then everything about factory farming and killing is. Apparently this is for general advertising to make people feel good about what they want to eat (which most people love because it doesn’t disturb their conscience). Seems like bribery to balance out the ag-gag law threats.

  10. This is unbelievable! As a parent, I am absolutely that Disneyland supports factory farming, not to mention creates a tour for children to see the artificial and confined conditions of the pigs. Fair Oaks Farms should be ashamed. They even still support gestation crates. I will share information far and wide with all the other parents and children I know to boycott Disneyland and spread the word that Fair Oaks Farms is nothing but a helish, confined life for animals to be used as commodities.

    “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” ~Thomas A. Edison

    I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her. ~Ellen DeGeneres

    “But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and
    time it had been born into the world to enjoy.” -Plutarch

    • Hi Kay,

      The real Disney Land is not a sponsor of this farm and has no ties to it. Fair Oaks compares itself to an “Agricultural Disney” because they’ve created a theme park entertainment environment around their facility. But you are correct that what they are doing is deeply wrong.

      Thanks for your support,


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