The Friendly Pig
Poem By Pete Crowther
Pigs are a lot like us,
their skins are pink, or black, and bare.
They’re friendly and intelligent, if given
half a chance and like it when you scratch them
round their ears. I knew a farmer once
who used to keep a special brush
to groom his pig, an old enormous sow.
She’d stand in ecstasy her eyes half closed,
they seemed to have a special bond.
Young pigs now scientists have found
are playful and will thrive
if children’s toys are put into their styes.
They’ll play for hours with a squeaky doll,
a plastic duck or a rubber ball.
Most pigs today are kept industrially
in floodlit sanitised conditions
on concrete floors in factory sheds
divided into exact economic units
calculated to maximise returns on capital
so by and large there isn’t room to play
or even turn. Our pigs are bred for slaughter
in sterile air-conditioned abattoirs.
If you, like me, eat meat, you can’t complain.
Yet don’t you sometimes feel a qualm
of guilt? And have you noticed
how, in graphic art, we always rob the pig
of dignity? It seems we have a need
to show this friendly fellow creature
in a joky light, portray him as a
cartoon figure out of Disney Land
with his light-hearted cheeky grin
and curly tail. It is as though
we’re trying to make ourselves feel better
and believe the pig is really happy with us after all.