Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good News / Bad News

The good news: an application to develop a 25,000 head pig farm has been turned down by a municipal council. It may not be the death knell for this particular farm, but it is a significant set-back.
The bad news? Regretfully, this took place in South Derbyshire on a greenfield site west of the historic village of Foston. Industrial pig farming is still alive and well in North America.
And really, it is absurd; there have been a numbert of studies in Canada that show that mega-farms like this actually damage the local economy and lower a municipality's tax revenue when adjacent property values are lowered because of the mega-farm.

image sourced from The Guardian
When I raised pigs, I worried about not having farrowing crates for my sows (as in the photograph above). What I discovered is that pigs have perfectly good instinctual behaviour that keeps them from laying down on their young--which is what the farrowing crate is supposed to prevent. Pigs will walk in an ever-tightening circle before laying down, pushing their iglets into the centre of the circle. Then, when they are certain that ll the little ones are in a heap, they flop down to the outside of the circle, at which the piglets charge to attach to a nipple. Just like only bored and overcrowded pigs will bite each others tails, so docking isn't necessary. Pictures like the one above are artifacts of imposing an industrial production model in place of natural behaviours.

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