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“Nick Schovanec the Porkinator”

On February 15, I commented on an article called "Ore. Students Raise Pigs for School Trip," and one of the students who is raising pigs for slaughter in order to fund their senior trip submitted a comment that I’d like to address.

He signs his comment "Nick Schovanec the Porkinator," which is very telling. Now, Nick is a child and I am acutely aware of my responsibility as an adult. My obligation is to clarify and educate, regardless of the tone or language of the comment. I do hope he reads this, and I do hope that someday he is able to understand.

Let’s deconstruct his comment:

  • He claims my facts are wrong, yet the article I sourced from (an AP article linked to in the original post and above when you click on the title of the article) says exactly what I wrote. If the original article has partial quotes or quotes are attributed to the wrong people, that has nothing to do with me. Furthermore, being a reporter for the Associated Press is no small job and requires attention to detail and integrity.
  • Nick writes "The fact is people raise pigs for a living." That’s true. But they don’t have to. Eating pigs is wholly unnecesary.
  • He continues, "They’re not raised to be bedside tables, water coolers, or any other such item." Of course not, Nick. Those are all things–inanimate objects–they are not living, breathing, feeling beings.
  • Oddly, he then writes, "As sad as it might seem they are raised for good old bacon, ham, pork chops, and other cuts of pork." Yes, Nick, it is sad. But you can do something about it. You can choose not to participate. You have power. You are adding to a "sad" situation when you don’t have to.
  • Most upsetting to any Animal Person is when Nick writes "You must not understand why we find this whole thing fun. Simply put,
    raising pigs isn’t all that bad. It’s just like having a baby brother
    in the house. Nothing but trouble and always making messes. It’s not
    that we find the idea of killing our pigs fun." My question to Nick is–and I’m going to put this as delicately as possible: Even you liken the pigs to a baby brother; they have the same capacity for pleasure, pain, terror and satisfying family and social relationships as your baby brother (once he gets older). In other words, Nick, your pigs aren’t that different from your baby brother. Or let’s say, your pet dog. Would you raise dogs for slaughter?
  • The one thing in the post I regret is that I suggested the children should have to slaughter the pigs or go to a slaugherhouse. As Nick writes, "none of us would have a problem with going to the slaughter house (sic) or doing it ourselfs (sic). Seeing as how all of us hunt deer and elk. Which includes skinning and gutting them on the spot." First of all, I doubt these kids would do well in a slaughterhouse. At least I hope they wouldn’t; I hope they’re not that hardened. But more important, and as I wrote in the original post, the problem is that the kids already have no respect for other sentient beings. At their tender age, they already think it’s okay to breed, raise, and slaughter animals (or hunt them down and kill them) for basically no good reason. Food isn’t a good reason, as it isn’t necessary to eat animals in order to survive. And "sport" isn’t ever a good excuse to kill anyone.
  • Like most 40-year olds, I too was raised eating animals. But when I was 17, I started questioning why we eat animals and whether it’s ethical to do so. We are all products of our upbringing, but we can all make decisions for ourselves and follow our sense of morality once we reach our teens.

If I could wish one thing for Nick and his peers, it would be for them to go to Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary and read about the lives of farm animals. (Go to the Meet the Residents page.) Perhaps the kids would realize how much alike all of us animals are. We all want love, we all want a life free from suffering, and we all want to be free. Check out the Peaceful Choices campaign for how anyone can live a more peaceful life, starting with their next meal.

Dearest Nick, it’s not a "joke" to wish that all sentient beings could live their own natural lives, free from being used and abused. I do hope that some day you embrace that reality, and make more peaceful choices.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Recently a member of our site, (who is also a student at the school) brought up this issue, and while he personally seems against it, some of the members of our site are against it. Animals are not intelligent beings they (animals) rely soley on insticts, and they do whatever their insticts dictate. Animals aren't self aware. Besides, one could argue that without meat, the world would starve rendering you without a food source. You see, without people to raise/grow your precious veggys you wouldn't have anything to eat.

    February 28, 2007
  2. Zena Jackson #

    I would like to comment on the article Raising Pigs for Slaughter to Fund Class Trips.
    Science teacher Bob Pearson should be commended for his participation of the project. He contacted The department of argriculture to help with the reseach behind raising pigs for profit. This is what the project is about. It is a fact of life that humans good,bad and inbetween eat meat to survive. Even George Clooney eats beef. By the way, his pig was a pot belly pig raised to be a pet. This isn't about raising a pet then amlessly killing it for fun. This is a learning project. The kids are learning how to house, feed, clean, care for an animal that will be used to make a profit. Ask any chicken,beef,pork,lamb or exotic animal farmer how they make a profit and they can tell you every animals personality,weeknesses,strenghts. These animals are not abused or mistreated in any way. Thay have good housing, are kept clean, and have vetrinary health care provided. This is part of the learning process. This process is what the kids are referring to as FUN. Inspire a child to learn and they will tell you it is fun. This is the brillance of Mr. Pearson. These kids started with a budget. Had to decided where to spend that money to make a profit. In that they decided animal husbandry was how they wanted to do it. They had to work as a team to figure out how to pay for the food, the housing and the care. As a team, they picked out days of the week that each student would clean,care and provide the food for the animals. So now,the kids are learning about how to take care of animals and the responsiblity it takes. Are all the kids going to enjoy the end project? Well, that has yet to be seen. Are they all going to grow up and be pig farmers? I don't think so. Remember, this was decided on by the entire senior class. The end result will not be the kids taking the pigs to the slaughter house. It will be they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Then there fate will be decided by the winning bid. The pay off being a profit. A profit to spend where the kids choose. Just like when you get paid for a job completed. There is alot more to this school project then what you are seeing. I know you are looking through a vegans eyes. And it is painful to see animals killed for human consumption. The least painful way to see it is that an animal is treated with dignity and respect before its demize.
    I would also like to ask how you feel about FFA. (Future Farmers of America) And 4-H. These are national know associations. Both, teach kids how to raise market animals for profit. I know this because I myself was a 4-H member that raised market animals. As my daughter followed with the program. I'm really glad you have had the opportunity to talk about vegan life but you do it in such a way as to treat the kids as they are doing something unlawful or they should be ashamed of. It is told in the Bible that God put animals on the earth for man to eat. Now that is a whole new subject. If you would like to comment on that. To sum up my comment is that it is not ALL about the slaughter of an animal that the kids are learning. It is about animal husbandry. Raising animals for a profit. Whether that being for slaughter, breeding, or pleasure. You will have to be a responsible provider no matter what your agenda may be. That is the lesson to be learned. The kids chose the project knowing full well the animal was going to auction and most like would be slaughtered for human consumption. I know alot about this industry as I too am a farmer and a parent of one of the 12 high school seniors at Eddy ville Charter School. I am proud of what my child has learned from this project. I commend Mr. Pearson for tackling such a huge undertaking. You wrote that the kids have no respect for other sentient beings. You couldn't be farther from the truth. If they weren't respectful of each other and the animals this project would have never worked. I hope this has enlightened you on the entire project. I respect that you are a vegan and are stongly against killing animals to survive. We farmers respect your opinion and now I hope you will be able to respect ours. Yours Truly, Proud Parent of an Eddyville Charter School Senior.

    February 28, 2007

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