Monday, May 22 2006
Franklin the piglet proved to be not all that much of a handful after all. He'd go for a walk with us in the woods, rooting under leaves and then breaking into a gallop to catch up. All that activity in those four stubby legs required lots of energy, and he'd get all tuckered out and need to burrow under some blankets the moment he got home. When he was bored or hungry (the two seem to be pretty much the same for him) he had an annoying habit of rooting his nose into the nearest human handy. He'd also try this on dogs, but they absolutely wouldn't stand for it. This rooting is cute at first but it gets uncomfortable quickly, feeling like a slowly-developing rug burn. Occasionally, though, he'd find his way to a tender muscle in need of massage and that was always welcome.
Being as easy to care for as he was, we decided to keep him for another night. While we sleep, we keep him barricaded in the bathroom. Since one day he will weigh eight hundred pounds and have to live in a barn, there's no sense in getting him used to sleeping in a bed.
On the face of it, allowing a farm pig to live happily to a ripe old age is absurd. A full grown pig needs enormous amounts of food to survive, yet mostly all they do with their days is lie around like a West Virginia Powerball winner. Considering examples like Franklin makes me chuckle a little about the misty-eyed idealism of animal sanctuaries and their volunteers. Conferring "sanctuary" on a full grown farm animal is the kind of thing only a first world nation can afford to do, and then only in very limited numbers. The least rational among the sanctuary crowd advocate the immediate sancturarification of all farm animals, an unprecedented misallocation of resources that will never happen and that would make the bankrupting effect of the Iraq War look small by comparison. Cooler heads in the movement point to sanctuarified animals as complex, lovable beings in hopes of encouraging people to "go vegetarian/vegan," actions that would actually help the economy and, as a side benefit, unburden the healthcare system. It bears noting, though, that in a sustainable vegetarian society, pigs of Franklin's kind would be extinct.
Gretchen introduces Franklin to a metal piggy next to his tray of disgusting milk formula.
Eleanor with Franklin.
Sleepy Franklin in a Turkish Airlines blanket.
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