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A Viva! investigation of U.S. farms has revealed shocking facts about how pigs are treated.

Most spend their lives crammed in disease-ridden, filthy indoor units. Viva! found sick pigs tossed into the aisles like trash to die; some were still alive but could not reach food or water. Others were already dead ­ and rotting. One pathetically sick pig died in front of our video camera. There was nothing we could do to save him.

These were not isolated incidents. Time magazine reported that on the farms of one huge producer, 420,000 pigs died prematurely in a single year. These losses are built into the economics of pig farming.

Why does it happen? For years there has been a steady intensification of pig farming. Now, large industrial units are the norm. Pigs are commodities. To make them grow faster, they are given growth-promoting antibiotics on a daily basis. Many of these drugs are banned in the EU because of their role in creating deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

You can’t visualize these places, you have to see them. The smell of excrement is overwhelming. The pigs ­ who have an acute sense of smell ­ can never escape. Ammonia fumes damage their lungs and, not surprisingly, many die of respiratory diseases.

Almost all mother pigs ­ the breeding sows ­ are kept in what are termed ‘total confinement facilities’. This innocuous term actually means imprisonment ­ indoors and confined in metal crates just inches wider than their bodies. These desperate creatures can never walk or turn around for their entire lives. Total confinement is the fate of 83% of mother pigs, according to the USDA.

Transportation to slaughter is equally horrific. Often in open trucks, many die from heat stroke in the summer or freeze to death in winter. In 1998, nearly 277,000 pigs were dead on arrival at slaughterhouses.

And it doesn’t end there. Many pigs are inadequately stunned ­ merely paralyzed so they feel all that happens as they are killed. Some are known to enter the scalding tank fully conscious and are literally boiled alive.

This suffering has to stop and here’s what you can do to help:

We want to use this campaign to highlight the suffering of pigs on factory farms, to open the public’s eyes to the world of suffering endured by all animals killed for food, and to encourage people to go vegan! Both local and national events that take place on behalf of animals killed for food can have positive and far-reaching effects. We want to help you plan events in your community and would love for you to join us for national events.

Over 100 million pigs are killed for food every year in the U.S. The public’s desire for pig meat (hot dogs, bacon, etc.) is what has forced pregnant sows to be kept in confinement so small that they cannot walk or turn around. These intelligent and sensitive creatures are reduced to the level of food-producing machines. Pigs have a particularly sensitive sense of smell and have to endure the horrendous stench of their concentrated feces which becomes a major pollutant and causes environmental devastation.

If you consider that the issue of animals killed for food pervades every aspect of everyday life, it makes sense that our actions for these animals must then also consist of many forms. Part of this diversity includes participation by people of all ages in our campaign. If you are a Student, click here for campaign ideas.

Organize your own event

Certain times of the year offer great opportunities to reach out to the public about pigs. Holidays such as Christmas & Easter are profitable for the ‘ham’ industry. At some stores, such as Honey-baked Ham, people can order and pick up their ‘holiday hams.’ This is a good opportunity for us to educate their customers and possibly deter them from placing an order. It only takes a few people to hold signs and/or leaflet in front of these stores. Summer creates a real boom for hot dogs and barbecues.

Download this media release as an example for your own event. Send your release to your local TV, radio and newspapers (don't forget to call them the morning of your event). If you would like to use Viva! letterhead, just let us know. Obviously, change necessary information. (for sample release for student campaign, see Student Section of website)

We encourage non-students to help any students within your group or community to get vegan burgers, hot dogs, and other meals in their schools. Keeping up with school can be difficult and the students might be able to use some help! Suggestions in Veganize Your School include having a veggie cook-off and showing videos to get others involved.

Showing award-winning videos like "A Cow At My Table" and "The Witness" in your community can expose the public to the reality of the slaughter and raising of animals for food. Free vegan goodies and literature are a great compliment. Viva! has flyers you can adjust to help publicize yo
ur event.

Get Writing

Submit letters to the editor. An enormous amount of publicity and awareness can be gained through the pages of your local newspapers. Local and weekly papers are read by lots of people - particularly the Letters to the Editor section.

Download these sample letters, but feel free to compose your own. Please remember to keep to the word limit and include the date, your name, address, and phone number. Sometimes they like to call and verify you wrote the letter. The paper won't print your address or phone number.

One letter can be used in the winter during holiday 'ham' season and the other works well for the summer & hot dogs. Read further for letters on pigs when a pollution story comes up in your local paper. If you are a student - see our student section for a sample letter to your school paper to get veggie options in your school.

Get Active!

Table as often as you can! See if a local co-op or bookstore will let you set-up a table. Also see about tabling at local festivals and concerts.

Just one hour of leafleting on campus with vegan literature can reach a lot of students.

If there is a farm in your area, create a stink about it – they are! Make sure that others in the community know about the farm by writing letters to the editor of local newspapers. In England, some activists have even taken to holding signs outside of these farms (and in the local town) so the animals’ suffering does not go unnoticed. They also filmed at the farms and shared with the local media and authorities if the law was violated. This has caused some to close! Persistence pays!

We encourage you to have information on hand about all animals that are killed for food. Please contact us if you need some. By helping even one person to go vegan, you are truly making a difference.

We will be coordinating national events for you to take part in – please keep in touch if you would like to join in.

Thank you for your support. I look forward to working with you for our animal friends!

Yours for the animals,

lauren Ornelas

U.S. Campaigns Director



Download When Pigs Cry leaflet


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