The Littlest Pig

Today's blog post was scheduled to be a lighthearted exploration into the diet of our resident potbelly pigs. However the plan took a change this morning when I received a heartwarming email from a wonderful new supporter of the sanctuary.

I will share an excerpt from her email, that resonated with me very deeply.

"I see countless livestock trucks (full or empty, I can't tell which is more heartbreaking) on my daily commute. The smell of livestock in the air is constant and is a horrific reminder of all the lives that are "processed" every single day. One day on my way home about a month ago I was stopped at a red light next to a pig truck, and I made eye contact with a few of the animals. I sobbed the entire rest of the way home. I have been vegetarian before, but this didn't seem like enough, and after educating myself on the horrors of animal agriculture and factory farming (I just finished watching Cowspiracy this morning), it isn't surprising then, that I have adopted a vegan lifestyle...for the animals, for the health of the planet and for my own health."

During my move to British Columbia, exactly a year and two months ago - we wound up pulling out of Kamloops, driving neck and neck with a livestock trailer. This trailer was packed full of beautiful, innocent pigs.

I was in the passenger seat of the vehicle for that leg of the trip, and was therefore right beside the livestock trailer. Upon realizing what was beside us, I became immediately upset. I requested my mother, who had accompanied me on the drive out, move away from the trailer. Unfortunately due to mountain roads, this wasn't possible, and we rode aside each other for a couple of hours.

I cannot describe the emotional turmoil I experienced and witnessed during those hours. When I realized I couldn't escape this sight, I decided to absorb the impact of it. Staring into the slats of the trailer, I saw the very human like eyes of the frightened and weary pigs inside. A snout stuck out the back of the trailer, his little tongue jutting out to feel the wind - how very similar to the dogs we love.

As many pigs as there were on that trailer, one will always be burned into my memory. One pig, smaller than the rest, was shoved up against the open slats. He was sitting, not by choice, but because there was simply no room in the crammed trailer for him to lift himself upright again. We made eye contact, for what seemed like the longest minute of my life. He looked just like my Billy. My breathe caught in my throat, as a tear fell from that little pig's eye, and shattered my heart into pieces.

Reading and witnessing first hand are two very different forms of knowledge. Having researched and watched every video available on factory farming, abuse, and what occurs inside the slaughterhouses, I thought I was better equip to dealing with the reality when it was presented before me. However watching that pig, and the tear fall from his hollow eye, was unlike anything I could have prepared for.

We pulled over at the next rest stop. Getting out of the car, I made my way to the horse trailer we were towing. Billy and Buddy were sleeping inside as I collapsed into the straw next to them and wept. Having my boys so close to such atrocity was unbearable. Making the connection that it could have been them in that truck, had their fates or breeding been slightly different, broke me down.

I wanted nothing more than to pull over that livestock trailer and comfort all the souls inside. But I couldn't. So I held my boys instead.

Following that incident I began to re devote myself to speaking for the animals. Not a full year later I was making plans to launch an animal sanctuary, the sanctuary I am proud to have today.

Staying positive in situations where hope seems so far away, is a trying task. Every day, at least once a day, the sheer force of the amount of animal suffering in our world is overwhelming. I am both blessed and cursed to have the ability to empathize with the animals. Some days that weight is heavier than others. The suffering so large, so consuming, so endless, I wonder why I am trying to fight it. What's the point? What can I do?

Then I look at Ludwig, or Sampson, or Bella or Buddy, and I remember. I may not change the world overnight but I can change the world for one animal, and I can open the minds of others. A victory no matter how large or small, is still a victory. And that one animal's life, matters.

A Poem For Pigs

I am alive.
Look into my eyes.
You will see a soul,
You will see an individual.
You will see me.

Look into my eyes
And I will look back at you.

We're not so different,
You and I.
I love.
I feel.
I laugh.
I cry.

I have family.
I have friends.
I want to protect them.
To enjoy life with them.
To save them.

Here I am.
Crammed among them,
So closely packed we cannot move.
These sounds are foreign, loud.
The odour so strong, my eyes burn.

I am scared.
Where are we going?
Why are we here?

I don't understand.
We were friends.
You fed me,
You watched over me.
Why are you taking us?
Why are you taking me?

I want to go home.
Where the pastures are endless.
The grass grew beneath my feet.
The wind tickled my bare belly.
And the world was safe.

I want to go home.

Tears are falling from my eyes.
I want to be brave.
But why is this happening?
What did I do?

Look into my eyes,
And see yourself.
Why are you doing this to me?
Why are you doing this to you?

Look into my eyes.
The eyes of a pig.
For I am alive -
Though I'm already dead.

                                  - Julia Robin


1 comment:

  1. “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

    Oh Julia, your pain is so palpable. I have always loved the above quote and it seems to ring true, once again. As I read your blog post it immediately came to mind. You are changing the world by being a caring, loving human for these animals and bringing awareness to us all through your Facebook and Blog pages. Your poem is such a touching tribute to the pigs you encountered on that horrible day and to the pigs you care for each day.


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