Our trip to Lilí Hammies orphanage has made me reevaluate my opinion of pigs. Before this trip Iíd never really interacted or given much thought to what the life of a pig must be like. Encountering so many pigs and getting to witness their different personalities has really made me consider how we can be guilty of speciesism. All the pigs at the farm were truly unique characters especially Petunia. Itís nice to know the Hammie farm provides a safe haven for these pigs that might otherwise be mistreated. Itís an even greater place because it gives people an opportunity to expose themselves and interact with animals that arenít your average household pet. I think pigs more than other species are victims to peopleís indifference and are too often stereotyped. People rarely stop to think that these animals have just as much feelings or are as cute as domestic animals. I think the recent trend to buy teacup pigs serves to further peopleís perception that large pigs are undesirable and unworthy of affection. Visiting the farm, we had a chance to meet Valentine who was by far the largest pig on the farm and that Iíd ever encountered. He was super sweet and loved to give kisses, every preconceived notion I had about this pink farm pig was left behind. He was a docile creature and I canít understand how the food industry doesnít give these animals a face. It really sad to think what might have happened to these piggies if they werenít rescued. Seeing them roll around in the mud and laying out in the sun really gave me the sense that these pigs lived peaceful lives. It made me think of the distress that pigs who arenít lucky as them feel everyday. How uncomfortable it must be to live in a constant state of fear. Some of the older pigs on the farm were extremely sensitive to our presence as they became highly agitated even at a distance. I canít imagine the scarring experiences that they had undergone before coming to the farm.
All the pigs had a history before coming to the farm, each a set of experiences that contributed to their different personalities. I wanted to capture the uniqueness of each pig by making prints of their feet. I was thinking of their different stories and the places theyíd been before finally arriving at the sanctuary. I wanted to get as many different footprints and arrange them so they resembled a large trail, an exodus of pigs traveling to a safe haven. However actually getting the pigs to imprint on my sheet of paper proved almost impossible. They were very turned off by the paper or their feet werenít muddy enough. Perhaps using clay and making molds of there would have been more efficient.
I think sanctuaries are important for not only protecting animals but allowing humans to become more aware of animals true natures. Meeting the pot-bellies has made me want to visit other sanctuaries. Iíve posted a photo of my attempt to make a print and video of a one of the pot-bellies that I found having fun blowing bubbles while drinking water.