Matilda
Copyright Carol Slater Photography

Pigs are the fourth most intelligent species on the planet, after humans, dolphins and primates. They are much smarter than dogs and cats, and scientifically have the same cognitive ability as a 3 year old human child.

During a recent sale yard investigation, we met Matilda, a young breeding sow with a huge growth that had developed on one of her teats.

Matilda was clearly in some pain and distress, and had trouble standing.

She was being sold alongside other breeding sows, all of which were much older and considered “spent”, meaning they were too old and worn out from constant pregnancy to be used for breeding any more healthy babies.

Matilda, however, just two or three years old, was being sold because it was cheaper to sell her early than to treat the painful swelling that she carried.

For her whole short adult life, Matilda was pregnant. Re-impregnated shortly after each time she gave birth, each one of Matilda’s babies would be taken away from her after a week or two, which causes all sows enormous distress.

Pigs born into natural environments generally spend their entire lives with their parents, mothers like Matilda have been known to continue making beds for their children even when they are fully grown. We can only imagine the sadness that Matilda felt every time her babies were taken away, never to be seen by her again.

At the sale yard, each of the sows when they arrived immediately began to try to free themselves from the enclosure that they were in. Some inspected the planks around them, found the weakest part and began to chew at the wooden rails. Others successfully lifted the latches on their stall doors, only to discover that the yard had fitted chains that could not be broken.

Matilda was sold for $350 to a specialist slaughterhouse. Matilda’s young body will be used for small goods such as pepperoni, salami & prosciutto.

Tired, in pain, and without food and water, Matilda’s journey to the slaughterhouse would be arduous, and her destination would prove to be anything but the comfort, rest and relief from pain that she was seeking.

How You Can Help

  1. Sign up for our email alerts. We have contacted the Dept. of Agriculture about the multiple abuses of animals at this facility, and we may need your help when they respond.
  2. Donate to our investigations fund, so that we can continue to uncover cruelty in the animal agriculture industry.
  3. Avoid buying goods that fund the pork industry, including pork, bacon, ham and small goods. Twenty pigs are slaughtered for every person who buys porcine products, so try veggie “ham’ and “bacon” products, whole grains and tempe or tofu instead.
  4. Join the Aussie Walk for Farm Animals, a fun day out that raises money for our investigation and education funds, as well as providing much needed funding to farmed animal sanctuaries.
    Our monitoring of Matilda determined that there were three violations of the CSIRO Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Pigs at sale yards.

Firstly, there was no water available for Matilda. The CSIRO model code of practice states “Cool, drinkable water should be provided at all times in holding pens”. No water was available to any of the pigs at this facility.

The code of practice also states that “[pigs] should not be exposed to long periods of sunlight” and that there should be “prompt veterinary attention for diseased, sick or injured animals”.

Matilda was clearly in pain but received no care. She was also held in a stall that was at least 50% in full sun. It was clear that Matilda was trying to avoid the sunlight, but her cramped stall made this impossible.

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