“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.