The Warwick Pig and Calf saleyards run weekly auctions each Wednesday in Queensland. On the 16th January 2022 we witnessed thirsty, hot and distressed pigs, including long after the sales had ended. We returned there a fortnight later to check on spray and drinking water facilities which are required to be provided for the pigs as they wait for auction within their pens. We filmed the pigs and facilities as part of our investigation, in order that we have evidence of the lack of water facilities and suffering animals. We reported this breach of code to Biosecurity Qld and participated in a witness statement.
As we film pigs on the hard concrete floors on this steaming hot and humid day, we discover a longer pen containing what looks like two litters of younger pigs at each end. One young piglet lifts her pink snout as we film. Her snout quivers as it sniffs towards us, her eyes blink behind enormous lashes, curious. She listens with upright ears too big for her head, one pierced with a large yellow plastic tag. Then a tiny pink tongue comes out towards us as though pleading for water.
We name this inquisitive girl Jigna, a name originating in India meaning “intelligent girl who is always curious and wants to discover the whole world”.
But as well as experiencing terrible thirst, Jigna will not discover the whole world. She will soon be sold, then fed until she is as big as her body can grow, then killed and her body parts sold as pork. She will not even experience her first birthday.
Next our hearts break as we film an older pig. She is struggling to move on infected, faeces crusted hooves. Her mouth is open as she pants, tongue lolling and froth at the corners. She is thirsty.
Contrary to what the phrase ‘sweat like a pig” would have you believe, pigs do not have sweat glands like us, and therefore struggle to stay cool without water in hot weather, making them vulnerable to heat exhaustion. Filming these pigs is heartbreaking for us, as we consider sanctuary pigs such as Portia and Kane - pigs exactly like Jigna - who are free and enjoying all that the earth and the gift of life has to offer. Their lives are precious. Farm Animal Rescue pigs not only have access to ample fresh water, but they relish bathing in the cool sanctuary dam.
We remain committed to our investigative work for the more humane treatment of pigs at all stages of their short lives in the pork industry. And investigative trips like these are harrowing for us, as it is agonising not being able to help these suffering animals we must witness in order to help future pigs in the industry. But even more than that, it’s because we realise that even if this sale yard starts to provide water, the suffering of pigs everywhere will continue whilst there is demand for pork. Because we remain aware that this suffering can be eliminated immediately, and the need for any water provisions completely unnecessary, if we make more compassionate choices.
What can you do to help Jigna and all pigs?
1. Sign this petition to help, at the very least, influence water provision for pigs at the Warwick Pig and Calf Sales https://www.change.org/p/mark-furner-qld-minister-for-agriculture-stop-animal-sale-yard-hell
2. Donate to sanctuary so to help visitors meet the sanctuary pigs such as Portia, Kane and Moby and help visitors connect these curious and intelligent animals with the pork or bacon on their plates
3. Choose from the abundant delicious, nutritious, healthful plant based protein over pork products on your plate