Choose Compassion: Pigs Are People Too

Photos by Hannah Sentenac
Meet Chris P. Bacon. Chris is a 6-month-old potbellied pig. His favorite foods are Cheerios and sliced green grapes; his least favorite are carrots and celery. He loves air conditioning, rubbing his belly in the grass, and watching TV with his adoptive older brother. His best friends are a stuffed duck named Doinks and a dog named Aspen. He's stubborn, affectionate, curious, and vocal. And he loves to give wet piggie kisses.

Chris was born with malformed back legs, and when his then-owner tearfully took him in for euthanasia, veterinarian Dr. Len Lucero took the wee pig home instead. This act of compassion (and some adorable YouTube videos) sparked a worldwide flood of warmth and goodwill, and Chris earned tens of thousands of fans across the globe, all rooting for the little pig on wheels.

See also:
- Chris P. Bacon, the Internet's Favorite Pig on Wheels, on Pork, Charlotte's Web and Pigs on the Moon
- The Undercover Animal Cruelty Videos that Spurred Big Ag's Censorship Crusade

Meet Chris face to snout, and it's clear he's a distinct individual. He thinks and feels and has preferences and personality quirks like any dog, cat, or human being. But Chris is a pig, and in our world, that means he and others like him are primarily for eating.

For most Americans, the meat we consume comes packaged from a grocery store or precooked on a plate. It bears no resemblance to an adorable pink pig in a wheelchair. But the truth is, they're one and the same. Though Chris' tongue-in-cheek name elicits an obvious connection, most people don't equate bacon with a cute snout and curly tail.

Part of this failure to connect the product to its source stems from the fact that most of our food comes from corporate farming, so unlike our ancestors, we're completely removed from the origin of what we eat.

The other factor, I fear, is that people would rather not acknowledge what they're eating. For most, it's unpleasant to admit that a tender filet was once attached to a grass-eating, doe-eyed heifer. Bacon was once a pig. A burger was once a cow. Nuggets were once a chicken. This is the reality that many would rather avoid.

But at our core, we are an empathetic species. Show the world a renegade cow who escaped from the butcher block, and people are inspired to root for its freedom. Videotape a sleepy baby duck, and millions share the link. Create a Facebook page about a disabled pig, and love and gifts pour forth from every continent. So why the turning of so many blind eyes?

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Anon 1 Like

While I agree with you on all fronts, your point would be better made if you were far less condescending. "We're not there yet." Seriously?? Please show everyone the way, enlightened one. There are plenty of problems in the vegan/vegetarian world (human rights issues, clearing forests to meet soy demands, etc.), so it's not as back and white an argument as you're making out. Simply being a veggie doesn't make you a "conscious consumer," and it certainly doesn't mean you're choosing compassion.

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