Morocco’s Pig Farms
The population of Morocco may be overwhelmingly Islamic but the country boasts a thriving pork industry with seven farms housing around 5,000 pigs. The farms are owned by one Christian, two Jews and four Muslims. “I’m a practicing Muslim,” explained 39-year-old Said Samouk, whose 250-pig farm is located 28 kilometers (17 miles) outside the city of Agadir. “I don’t eat pork and I don’t drink alcohol but it’s just a breeding operation like any other and no imam has ever reprimanded me for it.”
The Moroccan pig farms provide pork to hotels and shops catering to tourists who frequent the country’s spectacular Mediterranean beaches. Said Samouk estimates his farm produces 270 tonnes of meat annually, providing 12 million dirhams ($1.6 million). Jean Yves Yoel Chriquia (above) owns Morocco’s main pork processing factory and runs a farm with around 1000 pigs. He buys marketable pigs from Samouk and other farmers with the meat consumed by foreign tourists and workers brought from China by construction projects. “We have more than doubled our sales in three years and it’s starting to snowball,” states Chriquia. “Hotels all over Morocco are calling me up for deliveries, but for the time being I can’t respond to all the demands. We’re getting there, little by little.”
China’s Real “Happy Farm”
Pig farming might not be a game but a pilot pig farm project in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province was inspired by one: “Happy Farm”, a hugely popular online game. The farm in Suining County doesn’t raise hogs in the expected manner. Instead, 500 so-called “pig villas” provide clean, environmentally-friendly digs for the pigs. Plans are in the works to build up to 2,500 houses floored with a black, powdery mixture of wheat bran, rice husks and sawdust that absorbs and breaks down waste without the use of chemicals.
Some have criticized the rather luxurious abodes but those involved with the project are quick to defend them. “These are not villas,” explained Hu Juchun, director of the Suining County Agricultural Committee, “they’re model breeding zones, as part of a project to develop breeding techniques for organic pigs.” Of course, these pigs are bred for food and not fun but when it’s time to pay the piper, organic pigs provide a much fatter profit margin.
Pigs Peace Sanctuary, Washington, USA
Last but certainly not least is Pigs Peace Sanctuary, not a pig farm at all but – odd as it sounds – a pig sanctuary. Founded, owned and operated since 1994 by Judy Woods (above, top left), Pigs Peace Sanctuary is “a safe haven of love for pigs and their friends.” Around 200 pigs from abandoned pet pot-bellied pigs to a 600-pound Berkshire and Yorkshires.
Each pig has a name and a story… and finally, a good life free of use, abuse and the threat of slaughter. Take a drive out to Stanwood, Washington if you’re ever in the area, you’ll be glad you did and so will the pigs.
(image via: The Last Movieblog)
While it would be impractical to eliminate industrial pig farming altogether, it’s important to realize that the most profitable method of raising domestic animals isn’t always the best method. At the same time, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that domestic pigs are living, breathing creatures whose existence isn’t predicated on providing pork products for our plates. Whether we raise them for show, for pets or for food, isn’t showing some humanity the “human” thing to do?ï»¿