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April 25, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Pudgy Little Porkers’ Problems

They would be shaking in their boots – if they wore them. But it’s Spring: time to bare-foot it. Besides they like showing off their neatly buffed nails. People on their side have told them not to worry – yet. Squeals of joy are tinged with previously unknown anxiety. It’s not like they are hoofin’ it wild and free. Right now there’s no safely in a house of stone either – and it’s not a wolf at their door (That they could manage – it’s the dog’s job.) It’s something more threatening, more deadly.

Look at those faces. (cute piggies living on Bakers Green Acres)

Victims of profiling. Plain and simple (despite their papers and willingness to conform.)

  • Their ears shaped wrong. (A marketing plot? Cosmetic surgery on ears to “improve desirability? Like with certain dog breeds?)
  • Their tails, curled twisted, or straight? (How should they attempt to display those for acceptance? Please, do tell.)
  • Shunned for wearing rustic long, shaggy coats? (Wasn’t that what the fashion magazines showed this year? Besides it gets so cold in Michigan)
  • And problems with their coat colors? (What? Hasn’t the trend towards uniforms gone a little too far with this?)
  • Just unacceptable lineage (This is America? Where hard work, not family name meant success?)

Bakers Green Acres Hog

Michigan. Is it the land of intolerance? Or brilliance?

The Michigan State Legislature, strongly encouraged by big business AG producers, passed a bill originally designed to prevent the state from being overrun by feral hogs. Out of control feral hogs cause large amounts of damage to agriculture and often carry diseases that can spread to domestic animals on farms. Sounds reasonable. So under this bill, it is a felony to own certain hogs. All wild hogs belong to the state and will be killed. If anyone on small farms owns or breeds feral hog breeds or hogs with specific characteristics, farmers will be charged with a felony, fined, and forced to destroy their pigs.

Anyone living in Texas understands the feral hog threat. Thousand of the little piggy guys with such destructive ways it’s necessary to hunt them down: with helicopters – even silencers. These wily hogs are smart. Trapping has had limited success.

But Michigan doesn’t have a feral hog problem.

(And they don’t want, one supporters yell.)

Some creative entrepreneurs see a future with feral hogs as a food source. Cooked with style, wild boar is a delicacy. There are fancy recipes and gourmet dishes served in fine restaurants. There are specialized vacations featuring wild boar hunting, safe butchering methods, and cooking delicious meals featuring wild hog dishes.

And that’s what small farmers, many organic farmers, are saying.

Many have been raising heritage hog breeds to sell to fancy restaurants for exotic meals. (Heritage hogs, like Russian Boars, are hardy and have heavy coats to survive the harsh Michigan winters – so they should be punished for adapting to the environment?) Small farmers know hogs and take steps to keep them on the farm with good fences/ electric fences. Hogs are smart and social animals. One farmer says if his hogs get a chance, the hogs run to the house – they don’t want to leave.

Hog in winter at Bakers Green Acres Farm

These hogs know who feeds them and where food comes from.

(More than some people know.)

Small farms also provide consumers a choice:

Buy meat from pigs who live their lives wandering on grass with sun on their backs.

Or buy meat from pigs who live their whole lives indoors in crowded conditions, feed commercial feed (Do you really want to know what’s in there? Animal by-products, genetically altered grain feed, antibiotics….). Pigs who are slaughtered much too young. Who may have had their tails cut off to “prevent problems”. Commercially raised pigs never get to act like normal pigs. Sometimes young hogs are fitted with plastic nose rings which hurt if it tries normal pig behavior of rooting in the dirt. (That rooting behavior. It’s messy and digs up the area.)

Commercial hog production facility

Right now people have a choice.

Why let the government decide what food is available – what you should buy?

It’s quite a controversy.

Smiling farm piggies waiting for dinner

Pushy giant AG producers (who want to eliminate competition) lobbying a state legislature (who wants to do the right thing, who may be uninformed, or who may be in big business’ pocket) vs the small farmer (who is fighting to save their way of earning a living).

It’s also a battle over private property rights and the right to pursue happiness (keeping the family farm and living as they wish). Does the government have right to come onto private property and demand the slaughter of privately owned livestock? Even with a warrant?

Think carefully on the implications before answering.

And maybe do a little reading – just for the hogs.

Family farm

Scratching around with the chickens,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Click the sidebar tag “Wild Hogs” for TX laws and posts on feral hogs in Texas.

Read more on the controversy in Michigan (both sides)

VIDEO and news. One small farmer, Mark Baker, who is taking a stand for his farm “Bakers Green Acres” He also updates the Legislative fight.

  • Scroll down and watch the video “Hogwash”
  • Click on this June 2nd video about small farm raids – men with guns. Pigs slaughtered.
  • Scroll half way down to see great video of life on the farm (“Baker Green Acres” Introduction video) – and their family.(shorter slide show, too of “Summer at Bakers Green Acres, 2011”)
  • “Help Save Green Acres”   See pictures of the pigs, the farms, and listen to their plight.

 

40 Comments

  1. roughseasinthemed / Apr 25 2012 6:29 pm

    You know me, I’d be eating the veg and letting the pigs root around to their hearts’ content.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2012 6:32 pm

      They make really nice pets…smart and good guard animals…but they need room to root and wander and be piggies. Thanks for trotting by

      Like

  2. Ally Bean / Apr 25 2012 6:36 pm

    Interesting situation. I’ve not heard of this particular type of hog, but am not surprised that there’s some sort of controversy around them. They are different to be sure, but I don’t see how slaughtering them will solve anything. There really are no simple questions anymore, are there?

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2012 7:48 pm

      Heritage hogs/pigs are like heritage plants and flowers: old stock, old genetics. Heritage genes usually mean hardier, and more disease resistant. Heritage livestock enthusiasts/scientists warn that we need to retain some of the old stock genes for gene diversity and to insure a sudden die off (because of immunity issues or susceptibility certain diseases) doesn’t kill a needed species. So why would anyone object to that?
      Wild hogs are a big problem, no doubt.
      But privately owned hogs maintained on private property? Whole different deal.
      Thanks for joining the conversation

      Like

      • Ally Bean / Apr 25 2012 8:26 pm

        Fascinating. I learn so much here. Thanks.

        Like

  3. Writers Wanted / Apr 25 2012 6:59 pm

    Wonderful post today. Very nice job.

    I look forward to your future writings!

    Like

  4. MJ, Nonstepmom / Apr 25 2012 8:52 pm

    So much we don’t hear about – thanks !

    Like

  5. writingfeemail / Apr 25 2012 9:08 pm

    I have never seen shaggy haired pigs before. Aren’t they adorable! And I’ve heard that pigs are smarter than horses or dogs and make good pets. I can’t imagine that I would want one as a pet, but after these long haired ones, I may have to rethink that.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2012 10:43 pm

      Who knew pigs could have long hair? I know they are pigs, but those little faces! Thanks for wandering by to add to the conversation

      Like

  6. Honie Briggs / Apr 25 2012 9:15 pm

    I recently took pics of pigs in signs and statues all over the place. Even a pink Harley Hog named lil pig. Pigs just started showing up everywhere I went….but I never saw a wooly pig. They are kinda beautiful in a salty, smokey, sizzling, seasoned sort of way, aren’t they? Nice post.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2012 10:48 pm

      It must be livestock week? Pigs are funny – especially these little guys. (Bacon…mmmmm. One of the farmer said he raises his “meat stock” in a 2 acre field they are free to roam around and only have one bad day in their lives. Better than most, I guess?) Thanks for joining in

      Like

  7. Emma / Apr 25 2012 10:09 pm

    I prefer my pigs roaming free with the sun on their backs as you say.

    Like

  8. jmmcdowell / Apr 25 2012 10:55 pm

    So much legislation starts out with good intentions. But the politicians often don’t know all the facts, the lobbyists come in, the monied interests throw their weight in, and what comes out of the state/federal government has become a 1,000-page incomprehensible paperweight. Thanks for another enlightening post!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 25 2012 11:15 pm

      You are so right. After watching the hearing videos, I actually felt sorry for one state Senator who apologized to Mr Baker and admitted he didn’t realize what was in the bill and that it would let officials force farmers to kill their livestock. Hopefully that senator will try to change the existing law now he has read it and understands it. Wish bills could only address one item per bill – and write it in simple language – too much is hidden in all those pages. Thanks for bringing this up

      Like

      • jmmcdowell / Apr 25 2012 11:17 pm

        I second that opinion about one item per bill and keep it simple. If the item can’t stand on its own merit, would it be a good law?

        Like

  9. The Hook / Apr 26 2012 12:12 am

    “They would be shaking in their boots – if they wore them.”
    Hilarious!

    Like

  10. susielindau / Apr 26 2012 12:37 am

    Poor little piggies! The more I hear about animal abuses, the more I want to become vegetarian. I don’t think I can do it, but geez! They say that all you have to do is work one day in a sausage plant and it will cure you. Oh pun intended…. Hahaha!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 26 2012 1:28 am

      Small farms treat animals much differently than big conglomerates. Feed lots and factory farms disturb me: animals knee deep in mud eating, eating, eating and getting stressed in crowded pens. Thanks for slicing up that pun!

      Like

  11. ceciliag / Apr 26 2012 12:41 am

    I want that long haired one in the snow, can I have it? can I? can i ? Will i get arrested!? thank you for pointing out this page.. mercy i cannot eat that pork they serve up at the supermarket, that is why i am growing my own! and i had NO IDEA that some breeds were outlawed! that is crazy! c

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 26 2012 1:33 am

      Aren’t those just the most beautiful pigs! Just beauty shots. Glad you appreciate the little guys

      Like

  12. The Blissful Adventurer / Apr 26 2012 12:41 am

    we raised hogs when I was a kid. they were treated better than us 🙂 I love this post

    Like

  13. PiedType / Apr 26 2012 2:47 am

    City girl here. I had no idea that some hogs came with curly coats! I kept looking at that first picture and thinking someone was trying to disguise them as sheep! Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Like

  14. jwms1 / Apr 26 2012 2:47 am

    Looks like the pigs were crossed with sheep. 🙂 Sheegs, piheep, I can’t come up with a good name.
    I try to buy organic, grass fed, etc as much as possible, and I am all for the small farms, but do think that it is a pretty complex problem to produce enough food for the masses and to make small farms produce a living. Great discussion about how poorly written legislation, perhaps well-meaning, can hamper or even destroy potentially helpful ideas whether in industry or agriculture. Also, great points about the importance of diversity in products. History tells us that putting all your “eggs” in one basket can be disastrous. Ireland’s great potato famine is a great reminder of that principle.

    Like

  15. jannatwrites / Apr 26 2012 3:11 am

    I had no idea this controversy existing. It does sound like a way for the giants to get rid of competition. What’s sad is that they have the $$$ to make it happen, even though it doesn’t make sense, nor does it benefit the consumers.

    Like

    • jannatwrites / Apr 26 2012 3:43 am

      How about ‘existed’…I had no idea this controversy existed (Maybe I should read what I type once in a while!)

      Like

      • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 26 2012 2:46 pm

        Hey, never worry about that stuff here – It’s the content that’s important..blogs aren’t a grammar quiz or spelling contest. (Being dyslexic, I don’t read letter by letter anyway). It’s all about ideas.

        Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 26 2012 2:50 pm

      I was pretty stunned about the power grab at the consumer’s expense. I had run across a news blurb a bit ago, but didn’t look into it until saw a cute picture of baby piggies on this blog: http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com/
      They are building a sustainable farm and it’s a VERY funny blog by a gifted writer. So from those pix of little piggy hooves to Michigan controversy. It is a big worry as other states are closely watching to see if this new law holds. Thanks for stopping by and listening to the squeals

      Like

  16. jmlindy422 / Apr 26 2012 4:28 am

    Those are the cutest pigs in the world. Who could eat them? The curly coats must be a sort of self-defense as in “I dare you to eat this adorable-ness.” FYI, I was watching “Meat Men” on Food Network and there was big drama regarding availability of one of these furry porkers. Just last night!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 26 2012 2:55 pm

      Whoa! Must try and find that episode. Have been keeping up with the feral piggies here – they are a huge problem – and the drought last year had them charging manicured lawns in the subdivisions. But these furry guys look nothing like the ferals here – and they are carefully raised on private property. Never saw a long haired pig before – and those little faces! (and yes, I do know they get big and are pigs…I do know farms and livestock…have you ever sat on a calf so they could doctor it?) Anyway, thanks for trotting by to join the squeal-fest.

      Like

  17. Nora Blithe / Apr 27 2012 1:19 am

    I cannot discuss the government without causing my blood pressure to spike crazily so I’ll limit my comment to the following: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww those fuzzy pigs are so cute!

    Like

  18. shoreacres / Apr 27 2012 2:54 am

    I’ve recently been hyperventilating about proposed legislation to prohibit youngsters from working on any farms other than their parents – and getting their training in how to operate machinery in a 90 hour government course rather than 4-H and school. This pig business is just another example of that kind of idiocy. People who don’t know a snout from a tail shouldn’t be trying to tell people their business.

    We all agree about the feral hogs, I suspect, but that’s a whole other animal, with completely different issues. I hope this gets worked out.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2012 12:31 pm

      The administration started backing away from the no kids allowed to work on farms thing yesterday. Total lack of commmonsense. You know why far kid aren’t hurt jumping off roofs onto backyard trampolines like a lot of “city” kids? The farm kids are too busy!
      After rooting around, the hog question appears to be: wild or feral hogs running free belong to the state and could be eliminated – while pigs breed, raised and kept on private farms are private property and shouldn’t be killed by the state.
      (Besides they are a heritage breed with genes important to maintain for genetic diversity – and a protection from a hog die-off)
      Everyone should be squealing about this one – for multiple reasons.
      Thanks for trotting by

      Like

  19. robpixaday / Apr 27 2012 6:21 pm

    Awww…they’re so fuzzy!
    Porcine pinups!

    ♥♥♥ them!!!!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 27 2012 6:27 pm

      Centerfold material? When people say those pigs bristle, they mean it literally! Thanks for stomping in

      Like

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