Reflection: Speciesism and Animal Rights
Lil Orphan Hammies
By Tessa Tapscott (05/13/13 23:18:29)
Related animals: Human, Pig

I very much enjoyed my experience at the pot-bellied pig sanctuary. While the pigs were not only adorable, they were far more friendly than I anticipated. My only other experience with pigs was at a farm oriented summer camp where we were allowed to feed carrots to massive pigs through bars. Looking back at it now, I assume several of those pigs ended up as food at some point. I recall the councelors instilling in me a healthy sense of fear that the pigs might bite off our hands thinking that we were offering them as food. I think my smaller size may have also contributed to my fear and my perhaps skewed memory that paints these animals as massive drooling, half-blind beasts that would gladly tear off my appendages if given the chance.
The pigs at Lil’ Orphan Hammies were none of these things to my relief. While I still kept my guard up around the ones that were known nibblers, I felt comfortable sitting on the ground with them, brushing them and photographing them. We learned about each of their different personalities and about where some of them came from. Many were once sold to owners whom had fallen for the “tea-cup pig” trend that is sweeping the nation. The Internet is littered with admittedly adorable pictures of tiny piglets that can fit inside teacups or be dressed in doll clothing posing with a potted plant or some stuffed animals. Breeders give the impression that the pigs will remain tiny through out the rest of their lives, the perfect pet for an apartment dweller. However, as the owner of Lil’ Orphan Hammies seared into our brains, “mini pigs”, “teacup pigs” and “micro-mini pigs” do not exist. They will grow up and they will be pot-bellied pigs that are generally the size of a large, overweight golden retriever. I was disgusted to hear about how breeders stunted the growth of the pigs by starving them and depriving them of essential nutrients and even direct sunlight. It made me glad that there were people out there whom cared enough to begin pig sanctuaries for the creatures that grew past the bounds of apartment living, though I think it would be much better if people were more well-informed and did not buy such pigs in the first place.
I spent sometime sitting with one of the pigs in the outer enclosures, whom was not as used to humans, but still allowed me to sit near her and have a chat. Her name was “Icky” or “Ucky” due to a strange skin problem she had that caused her to loose patches of hair all over her body. I attempted to connect with her through animal communication and I asked her how she felt about her name. She told me she did not like her name, but I did not get a response as to what her name should be, but I asked if it were okay if I called her “Matilda” instead. She guessed that would be fine. She seemed bored, but enjoyed our communication, so I told her I would try to contact her again some other time.
I enjoyed learning about all the different pigs and I admire how dedicated Susan (the owner) is to helping save the pigs and making sure they can live out their days in the highest quality of life. I hope to spread word about the pigs, hopefully this fad will fade and there will be far fewer orphaned hammies.

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