Cramming animals into smaller and smaller spaces -- to the point where they're essentially immobilized and lined up like parked cars -- is the result of a decades-long industry race to the animal welfare bottom.
As a pig farmer, I live an unethical life shrouded in the justificatory trappings of social acceptance. What I do is wrong, in spite of its acceptance by nearly 95 percent of the American population. I know it in my bones.
Progress recognizes no pinnacles. It permits no stability. It demands constant, unfettered revolution. I am writing today to shed light on a pinnacle, and to suggest that we respect and embrace that pinnacle.
I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Suddenly, through unfiltered, raw emotion, I felt, quite frankly, like a cold-blooded murderer waking up to the reality of what he had done. I nearly threw up.
When I take good care of the pigs, I take good care of myself. When I take poor care of the pigs, I take poor care of myself. I find myself in an intricate web of relationships that give substance and form to my native home, to myself.
Before I sat down to write about John Currence's new cookbook -- Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey -- I surveyed my brown liquor shelf and found just the right courage: a bottle of Willett Rye with one good pump left in it.
Chatter at open air cocktail tables ensued among the varied crowd. From pig farmers to ice cream makers, and editors to visitors from Japan, guests imbibed at a "perfect" Manhattan station, a whiskey sour station, and a chupito bar (small sips of tequila).
The question of livestock raising is one that transcends the hubris of production efficiency for humility, compassion, and empathy, which enable us to acknowledge and grant the animals' expression and pursuit of their own interests.
The movement for veganism is the most challenging social change movement in history. We're not asking a segment of the population to change in order to right a wrong. We're asking every single human being to change.
So, the Drunkard and the Little One are gone. They were killed yesterday just a few minutes after I dropped them off at the slaughterhouse at about 8:30 a.m. They had been with us for about six months and were our two "special needs" pigs.
Imagine if the film, word processing and home electronics industries had refused to innovate. Then imagine that these industries went as far as mocking their customers who were demanding innovation. That's exactly how much of the U.S. pork industry is behaving right now.