Sep 13th
    Are we going into Space soon? Check out my little rocket capsule!

    Check out my little rocket capsule! Are we going into space soon? I’ve been waiting a while…

    A number of you have written comments about how awful the Spanish are at treating their pigs.

    I want to make something clear.

    I have nothing against Spain in particular (despite the bullfighting, galgo abuse, pig misery and dog chaining). This is a WORLD-WIDE issue. Many many other EU farms will be of the same quality if not worse and further afield they almost certainly are worse.

    I am in Spain because it is easier to get access here than elsewhere. Please do not boycott Spain in your hearts or in actions. Boycott intensive farming and spread these images and blog to make the case for the better treatment of pigs – and all intensively farmed animals – worldwide.

    But perhaps throw your Spanish salami out of the window.

    These cold metal bars taste divine. (pigs will chew on metal like this when bored and stressed)

    These cold metal bars taste divine. (pigs will chew on metal like this when bored and stressed)


    Pigs snapped through a window of another farm we passed

    Pigs snapped through a window of another farm we passed



    I want to draw your attention to an undercover video that has been sent to me that allegedly shows the reality of so called ‘FREEDOM FARM’ RSPCA assured farms.

    Please decide for yourself.

    I will be tackling the thorny issue of labeling later  but in the meantime if you want to be sure your meat is not cruel it is worth knowing exactly what organic farm it came from or it might be easier to not eat pork at all. The body movement of some of these pigs in the video  – with limp back legs – is exactly as I found some in Spanish pig farms



    A close call at Psycho farm

    I have visited some more farms undercover and also by direct entry. I won’t bore you with too many details other than to say I’ve seen some fairly regular welfare issues including dead piglets, pigs unable to stand up, a lot of bar biting (caused by stress and boredom) and a lot of pigs stuck in stalls with sores on their side where they are forced to lie down in the same position.

    Oh look, little brother is STILL asleep. (a problem with genetically engineering large litters in a small space is that crushing is a constant threat)

    Oh look, little brother is STILL asleep. (a problem with genetically engineering large litters in a small space is that crushing is a constant threat)

    Ah, they're taking him away. At last !(mother watches as her crushed piglet is removed)

    Ah, they’re taking him away. At last !(mother watches as her crushed piglet is removed)

    sores on the sides of pigs are common in sow stalls

    sores on the sides of pigs are common in sow stalls

    But the final farm I visited was not as I expected.

    Late in the afternoon, and emboldened by a number of successful entries, I was confident I could get into a large farm high up on a hill overlooking a small town. Slightly delapitated and set against the lowering light it had the vaguely sinister air that Bate’s ‘mother’ from Psycho would have enjoyed.

    We drove up the hill. I got out and peered over the wall.

    To get inside without going through the main gate involved climbing over a huge old wall and going down a steep rough hill to join a number of metal steps that would leave me exposed in the cetnre of a large complex of buildings and a good distance from any exit.

    Why did I assume no one was there?

    I clambered over the wall and down the steep slope through long grass where I met some old metal steps. I felt I was in a video game, a first person shooter, moving through enemy territoty.

    In the first shed I saw one pig was unable to use its back legs. It dragged itself through the shit and muck on its front legs whilst others repeatedly knocked it over.


    Ham sandwich anyone?


    Rise and shine kids! It’s another fun day down at the farm


    For the sake of emotional clarity I have to say that this and the other few incidents I have described of injured pigs (the youngster with the bitten ear) are the ONLY times I have seen acute suffering. The rest of the time I am witnessing a empty existence – far more painful in the long term but without the peaks of intense misery.

    I crossed the open courtyard and saw a pair of rubber boots sat by a door. A hose pipe snaked along the floor and round the boots and then into the open door. The water was running.

    I paused, considering my options. If I went back up the steps I would be in direct view of the person that might be there. If I climbed over the main gate someone might see me. Foolishly, perhaps, I went into the next farm house. It was then that I heard the pre-arranged warning signal from Manuel

    Panic. Total panic. A car was coming into the farm. The plan was to retrace my steps and then run into the woods but in the fear I went to the nearest wall by the main gate and jumped over. I have no idea if the man who belonged in those wellies was behind me but he would not have caught me at the speed I was going. However I ran directly to where the car was coming. But I was lucky. As I went over the wall the car turned round a small corner and drove down the other side of the farm.

    I met Manuel in the car. ‘Let’s get out of here now’


    A dark flower is unfurling

    That evening I lay in bed looking at the small images on the back of my camera.

    Throughout this year the more suffering I have seen the more engaged I have become. It has been empowering to look and then in a small way, act to help. When people say ‘isn’t it awful for you?’ I have to explain it is often, strangely, the opposite.

    Yipee! I've been born in a farm...I  don't want to even look I'm so excited

    Yipee! I’ve been born in a farm…I don’t want to even look I’m so excited

    ...oh... that's IT?

    …oh… that’s IT?

    But now I feel something new.

    The faces of the pigs have entered the darkness of my night …. So so many animals staring silently out of the confines of the pens and me so powerless to do anything. Am I feeling guilt for all the years of meat eating or is it something elese? Is it a weird sort of mourning? The pain is muffled inside me– it is not shock, not even anger, a sort of awful realization that this is something very sinister and on a very VERY big scale.

    If you are kind enough to have read my blog from the start you will remember my rather hapless 24 hour walk around London looking for animals in distress.

    I discovered little apart from a load of men in Epping forest looking for sex (I suppose also animals in need ), a few hedgehogs (not looking for sex, or maybe they were?) and also the truth of how hard it was to find – and touch – animal suffering on the surface of a city. I ended up outside London zoo at 5am trying to listen for animal roars but in the breaking dawn I was moved by the fact I could hear nothing.

    All those captive animals but no noise.

    Going inside these small dark farms in Spain has been like going into London zoo before the gates are officially open. I find myself in a place I should not be (and yet should be) and I am witnessing a world of human power over other animals that is without pretence or marketing.

    And now I have also entered a dark place inside myself and have found something silent and compressed. A dark flower is unfurling in my heart and I am not sure if I want it to grow.


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    10 Responses to “DAY 351: A CLOSE CALL AT PSYCHO FARM”

    1. I’m 66 and have always loved animals. Why only recently am I looking behind this curtain you and others are lifting and truly seeing what has been going on all my life? Have I been so easy to manipulate that I could skim through life without questioning where my meat came from? I am so ashamed. It’s like a SciFi novel where someone comes upon an unimaginably huge secret that will change life on earth as we know it forever once it’s revealed. The way we treat these animals should be on the front page of every newspaper.

    2. Thank you Cindy, I really appreciate this comment and your honesty. It is never too late to feel and to act. We all act according to our culture, the power of ‘normalisation’ is terrifying. As I have said on many occasions I have no doubt I would have been a willing racist some centuries ago if that is what my society expected of me. It’s not easy to go against the tide, even when we live in a so called ‘liberal’ society.

    3. THANK YOU for doing what you are doing. I have been vegan for about 3 years now and the feelings you described in this post were so similar to those I felt as I first discovered (via books and videos) what you witnessed in person in that factory farm. More people need to be willing to see what is happening – and feel the feelings associated with it. The animals deserve us bearing witness…and then using our power to change things.

      I see you are on day 351. I SO hope your work continues after 365!

      Please come visit us at Pasado’s Safe Haven if you are ever near Seattle in the U.S.!

    4. I would love to!. Yes, I am thinking hard abotu what to do after day 365. Not sure yet! But I can’t close teh door on this. Please pass ont he word

    5. It’s horrific what we humans do to animals and, you’re right, it’s a worldwide issue. I pray for compassion and kindness to ALL animals! Thanks for doing what you do….it IS making a difference!

    6. “I want to draw your attention to an undercover video that has been sent to me that allegedly shows the reality of so called ‘FREEDOM FARM’ RSPCA assured farms.
      Please decide for yourself.”

      What d’you mean, “allegedly?” And how come you’ll believe and repeat all sorts of things about Spain, with no serious study or solid evidence for most of it, just because a few individuals have told you, but you’re doubtful about this, which is proven, and the terrible attitudes and actions of the RSPCA, which has been all over the newspapers and many times in court? Is it because it’s less shocking to you and easier to believe about a foreign country than about Britain?







    7. Hi Kate, I don’t want to defend Britain at all. I am sure there are awful situations here, just as awful as Spain. Unfortunately access is very hard. I can’t vouch for the video although I don’t have any great doubts it’s real. It is just I feel I have more personal experience of the situation in Spain having been there for myself, seen with my own eyes and so am more confident to expose it. Hope you understand.

    8. “Hope you understand.”
      I guess so. I try, anyway. It’s hard for me, reading this, but not in at all the same way that other commentors have said. Anyway, I’m upset by a whole, huge flood of hate-the-evil-torturing-dagoes that’s being chucked around lately. I had to ring the poor old Samaritans for half an hour today, simply because of that, and am still all to pieces.

      I know you can’t possibly guess what on earth I’m talking about, though. Maybe I’ll email you, but have sent quite a lot of links and things and don’t want to overdo it.

      I love Spain. I don’t mean I have a nice time or can live cheaply or evade taxes or sit by a swimming pool or go to fiestas; I mean I do love Spain in my heart. I’m under no illusions about Spain; it’s nearly killed me several times and surely will, but there’s more and more facile, gratuitous splurged-about emotion without the balance of reason, too much, “Oh, how bad,” without exploration of the background and causes, without information, comprehension or regarding the mote in one’s own eye.
      I do, now, believe that you’re not against Spain, but I was (am?) afraid you may encourage some other people to be.

    9. To return to the subject of intensive farming: it’s not just about producing cheap meat, fast, in large quantities. In a way, the fact that they’re live(ish) animals is incidental; they’re a product. But it’s not just that – the fact of rearing them in that way involves the use and consumption of so many other products from so many industries – and every one of them is a toxifier, a polluter, a gobbler-up of resources – and vastly profitable. (Where there’s muck, there’s brass and, oh boy, here be muck!) Just think:
      concrete – http://tinyurl.com/p3ngzmd
      steel,asbestos (getting rid of it gradually, but all of France abd more had the sheds buily of asbestos-cement) water supply, electricity, drainage, pumps, pvc pies, cespits, pharmaceutical drugs (antibiotics, especially) and insemination and testing and analysis (the pharma-profits are stunning, so they have a vested interest) agri-chemicals, transport (manufacture, servicing, moving, driving of trucks, trains, tankers, containers) roads and railways, container ships, storage facilities, cooling, heating, refrigerating, packaging, labelling, abbatoirs and their equipment, incinerators, butchery implements, logging companies to clear the reainforests to grow the soy to feed the animals, paper, pulp and timber companies who also benefit from the clearance, advertising agencies, warehousing and wholesalers, retailers, cafeterias.. and surely much more.
      Earth Overshoot Day was on August 20th this year: http://www.earthday.org/blog/2013/08/20/earth-overshoot-day-2013
      You see, we’re all involved, all contributing to make it worse. When you drove down to save seven birds fom the spilt petroleum oil, you were using petroleum oil and porobably gloves or other disposable stuff made from it. When I use a laptop to sign petitions or write in forums, I’m probably doing more harm than good. The truck-drivers who tranposrt the meat or the live animnals may hate doing it, but they need the money, to pay the mortgage they have from the bank that invests in it all, to buy their rubbishy food that’s travelled 3,000km. It’s not a matter of saying, “Oh, how tragic, how heart-breaking, i won’t eat them.” that’s just one tiny thing and the emotion can motivate, but is useless without factual information and connecting everything. The suffering of the caged pigs is unimaginable, but the rest all causes death and suffering, just as much but not as obviously.

    10. Their situation reminds me of that of old, helpless people in don’t-care homes, lying in rows, unwashed, medicated to death and very profitable.

      One thing everyone can do is to change one’s bank. There are a few ethical banks – I use Triodos.

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