The Last Pig: A Pig Farmer’s Transformation
This is a story of compassion and a story of love.
It’s a story of a change of heart by a man who made a good living from the exploitation and betrayal of the animals who trusted him, to a man who reconciled his heart with his head and made an enormous change because he cared.
In an article at timesunion.com:
Bob Comis sent more than 2,000 pigs to slaughter in 10 years as a pig farmer. He made a comfortable living and became a close observer of pig behavior.
He grew increasingly disillusioned with the work and the suffering of the intelligent, sociable animals who followed him around and nuzzled at his jeans. He liked being around the pigs and gave many of them names, but eventually reached a tipping point where he could no longer defend the ethical implications of the slaughterhouse.
The article describes pigs as highly social creatures who form very deep bonds. When one pig is lost or separated from the group, the pigs tend to “freak out”.
Nowhere is this psychological distress more evident than in the last pig in a pen at a slaughterhouse after the rest of its group has been led to the kill floor.
Bob Comis wrote of the last pig:
“They run back and forth squealing. They run aimlessly, in circles, screaming. They will jump fences, or they will plow right through them. When confined in a tight space, they will smash themselves against walls and gates, repeatedly. They will spastically chew on metal bars. They will try to climb whatever can be climbed. They will jam their snouts under the bottom rung of a gate over and over again and strain and struggle to lift it off its hinges. They will smash themselves against the walls and gates again, repeatedly.”
Over the years, he observed the pigs, and felt their similarity to humans, being highly intelligent and social.
“I saw pigs show empathy, joy, depression and a range of emotions,” he said. “They sometimes played pranks on each other. The experience of pigs seemed more and more like my own.”
He came to know their emotions from their sounds: grunts of contentment while grazing, ear-piercing squeals in times of distress and long, low groans when separated from the group.
The observations and the feeling of connectedness and similarity, along with the nudging of his conscience, caused Comis to go vegan and start growing vegetables on his farm, quitting the pig meat business.
“When I realized that the pigs’ beingness connected them to me was when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.
Check out the trailer for the documentary film, “The Last Pig”, which will be released soon, narrated by Comis: