Pork has long been proudly a permanent fixture on the British menu. Starting right from the very first meal of the day, most Brits enjoy their customary fry-ups of bacon rashers, pork sausages, and in some cases black puddings. These food names that we take for granted are in truth nothing but great euphemisms for what they truly are – a grotesque mix of flesh and derivatives from what are genuinely adorable, socially complex and intelligent creatures in pigs.
With the enormous global human appetite for pork, unfortunately, pigs are selectively bred to live short and painful lives in tightly packed factory farms, instead of following their natural instincts of foraging in the wild. They are locked up in gestation crates that are barely big enough for their body sizes, so that they are fattened up in a short span of time, devoid of any exercise, any freedom to even turn around in most cases.
Once piglets are born, they are deprived of the capacity to breed naturally by castration. To avoid them biting each other in cramped spaces, they have their teeth mercilessly plucked off. This is all done without anaesthesia, which is considered too cost-ineffective by industry standards. These piglets then grow up literally on top of their own excrements, unable to turn around, with no access to daylight or fresh air, until they are deemed ripe for consumption by humans. Is it right that our taste buds, tradition and convenience alone can justify this level of brutality on the otherwise innocent and sentient beings?
The densely packed nature of literally every single pig farm in the country – and in fact every other industrialised nation – renders the poor pigs vulnerable to stress, fear, and above all, diseases. The rampant use of antibiotics becomes inevitable and with such relentless utilisation of the famous double-edged sword comes increasingly resistant diseases such as salmonella and MRSA which are also zoonotic – or transmittable to humans. The filthy conditions involved coupled with the congestion provide a fertile breeding ground for superbugs like foot-and-mouth and swine flu.
Is humane or higher welfare pork any better? Not a chance. The huge demand for pork, coupled with the industries' incessant drive to make more profit by cost-cutting on genuine welfare standards for the pigs (and other animals for that matter), deems the “humane” label de facto meaningless and nothing more than a weapon of mass deception to the public. Labels such as “Crate-free” - which means produce derived from pigs removed from gestation crates but still crowded together so tightly that they could hardly even turn around – simply lure us into a false sense of comfort about exploiting these wonderful animals.
Moreover, every bite of pork, or simply flesh of another animal, involves a victim that has been relegated from the status of personhood to that of mere commodities. The sentience of that animal alone dictates that they have preferences of their own and in particular a preference for avoiding suffering and continued existence. If they matter morally, there is simply no justification for exploiting them. Veganism is then the only morally coherent choice for the morally inclined.
Is it impossible to live without our beloved pork? With the ingenuity of food technology coupled with a rise in awareness of the plights that pigs go through in giving us their meat, even the most ardent meat eater nowadays will concede the “implausible” claim and consign that to history. There are currently an abundance of vegan alternatives for every type of meat and especially sausages and “facon” rashers that taste just as good as their meat-based counterparts. These alternatives are lovingly produced free of bloodshed, anguish, chemicals or antibiotics. Such large growth in the vegan alternatives market can best be witnessed by the increasingly conspicuous presence of fake meat on the shelves of supermarkets and independent health stores, as well as at restaurants, pubs and in food conversations.
A high concentration of these amazing vegan products can be seen at a number of vegan festivals around the country, most notably VegfestUK which have grown to become some of Europe's biggest vegan events. Come down to the upcoming VegfestUK in Bristol, on May 21st 22nd at the Amphitheatre, and try for yourself the awesome tastes of 100% vegan food present at 180 stalls, immerse yourselves in the joys of veganism offered by dozens of cookery demos, talks, workshops and kids cookery classes, and also indulge in socialising and entertainment from music and walkabout entertainment. You can find out more in the event programme here:
Tickets to this fabulous event are available to buy online in the widget below or at www.bristol.vegfest.co.uk/admission, with a BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE offer running until the end of April - another good reason for inviting any pre-vegan friends, family members and colleagues.
The last “Vegan” billboard poster comes with a number of other hard-hitting posters as part of a vegan educational campaign in Bristol launched by the world’s 1st guitar-playing pig Pig Freud:
Your help with raising funds for this first-ever billboard project in Bristol would be much appreciated, thanks! You can donate at the link below:
Pig Freud would also appreciate your help in collecting donations for his project at VegfestUK Bristol 2016 – for full details see blog below:
In conjunction with his fundraising drive, Pig Freud will also be performing at VegfestUK Bristol 2016, on Sunday May 22nd at 5pm on the Buskers Stage. You can join the Facebook event below and invite your friends:
from Vegfest UK