On the Day of the Pig
From the perspective of Gut Aiderbichl
(written by Gisela Pschenitschnig)
My grandmother had a small farm in Carinthia and Anna and Liesi, two pigs, also belonged to it. I always spent my summer holidays with my grandmother and loved to spend time in the barn with the animals. We always had breakfast together with Anna and the three-legged Liesi: I ate my sandwich and the pigs slurped their breakfast.
During the guided tours, I always notice how much the visitors would like to pet a pig. So I tell the stories of our pigs and often you can find me sitting in the straw with the enormous trunks. Tentatively, in the course of my stories, more and more big and small hands dare to come up to the pig and scratch it behind the ears or on the belly.
The pig is intelligent and socialised
They say the pig is stupid and dirty. Pigs, however, kept in spacious stalls, use a corner as a "toilet", they would never soil the straw on which they lie.
Wallowing in the mud is an innate behaviour that serves to cleanse and cool them down. Pigs have no sweat glands and so wallowing in the cool mud bath lowers the body temperature, the mud on the skin in turn protects against sunburn.
The pig's brain works intelligently and so, unfortunately, pigs are also used in behavioural research...
Pigs in the experimental laboratory in the service of humans
Physiologically, pigs and humans are very similar. Pigs are susceptible to stress and have similar heart and circulatory problems as humans.
Pig skin is also very similar to human skin in terms of structure. For example, if a human has extensive burns, pig skin is transplanted.
Many visitors nodded their heads during the tour in recent years, when I told them that there are people who can live on with a pig's heart if theirs is sick.
Slaughterhouse closures due to the Corona pandemic
As an animal and human lover, I read such headlines with one eye laughing and one eye crying. Laughing because fewer animals have to die, crying because, of course, human livelihoods suffer because the yields fail to materialise.
During the pandemic period, Corona cases also clustered in the slaughterhouses and so animals could not be collected from the fattening farms and slaughtered.
In Germany alone, more than 600,000 pigs were waiting in the stables. The animals had to be fed, they gained weight and eventually exceeded the slaughter weight. The ideal slaughter weight is 95 kg. Each additional kilo is deducted from the price. The consumer and his or her consumption behaviour determine animal suffering or animal happiness.
Once upon a time, there was a vet who fell in love with a pig...
Susi, a former fattening pig, was left alone in the pen, because she had injured, inflamed legs. So one less pig came to the slaughterhouse. The farmer left it back and padlocked the pen door. The veterinarian gained access to the barn and found Susi lying huddled in a corner. She was almost dehydrated, because she could not reach the watering hole due to her pain. The doctor and his team did everything they could to help Susi and keep her alive. The efforts paid off and Susi is able to walk again.
She has been living at Gut Aiderbichl Carinthia for a few months now and has become a really happy and cheerful pig.
It doesn't have to be a Wiener schnitzel or a steak on the plate seven times a week. A creamy vegetable soup and a pancake with apricot jam also make us happy.
Sincerely, your Gisela