By CARY NEEPER
Formerly of Los Alamos
There seems to be an outbeak of pig stories lately – at least on my reading list. Sy Montgomery’s story of her “Good Good Pig” (New York, Balantine Books, 2006) is a very fun read, while providing wonderfilled evidence that convinces us that pigs are real people.
And here in our small California town “pickles the Pig” has gone viral on Instagram and Facebook and now has 65,000 worldwide fame.
Both pigs were treated with respect as the aware beings they were, and the authors let them be themselves, while teaching them practical dog-like commands, respecting their natural urges, and bathing them in love and goodies to eat.
We didn’t have pigs during out 46 years on our large canyon lot in Los Alamos, but we discovered that – like the dogs we had – our geese, ducks and chickens also responded to being treated as intelligent beings with personal needs and honest emotional responses to species-appropriate loving care.
The pig and horse stories I’ve read recently break through our old notions that animals do not share brain functions similar to ours – like the self-awareness and various individual perceptions we humans enjoy. The evidence continues to build – both amateur and academic – that animals we were designed to eat (being carnivores) are cut from the same ancient mold we are. They are conscious, sensitive beings (not automatons as Descartes declared years ago) with the same needs for love, nurture, and fellowship as we have.
A google quote: “Descartes (1596-1650) maintained that animals cannot reason and do not feel pain; animals are living organic creatures, but they are automata, like mechanical robots. Descartes held that only humans are conscious, have minds and souls, can learn and have language and therefore only humans are deserving of compassion.”
While we get busy to enforce humane ways of providing human food we must face a dilemma. If we choose to be strict vegans, we need to find a way to boost our intake of vitamin B 12. Having too little can lead to dementia problems.Thankfully, soy milk helps. Meanwhile, we can visit ways to cut down on eating the most environmentally hazardous or cured meat – beef and veal – and follow the guidance of experts like Temple Grandin to help prevent abuse in the meat industry.