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Activists call on temple to stop cruel animal practices

CHAMPION: A coalition of animal rights activists urged Master Temples to stop the practice of force-feeding pigs to enter them in a `divine pig' contest
By Meggie Lu
Saturday, Dec 01, 2007, Page 2

The Asian Coalition for Farm Animals (ACFA) yesterday urged Master Temples (祖師爺廟) in Taiwan to terminate animal cruelty in religious rites.

The coalition, consisting of animal protection groups from Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and the UK, told a press conference in Taipei that Master Temples should stop force-feeding pigs and entering them in "divine pig" contests.

Master Temples worship the Clearwater Master (清水祖師), a legendary general named Chen Chao-ying (陳昭應) who led the Han people in defending their homeland during the Song Dynasty.

The contest is a tradition that rewards a gold medal to owners of the heaviest pig at annual Master Temple prayer ceremonies, Environmental and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) president Wu Hung (朱增宏) told the media.

The winning pig, or "divine pig," is then slaughtered in public "while fully conscious" and offered to the Master, Wu Hung said.

"To achieve the status of a `divine pig,' the pigs are force-fed for up to two years and confined in pigpens that are so small they can hardly turn to ensure minimum movement," Wu Hung said, adding that champion pigs weigh up to 600kg -- six times the normal body weight for pigs.

"We are by no means preaching against traditional religious ceremonies," said Amy Firth, campaign manager of the World Society for the Protection of Animals [UK]. "We are saying that there are better ways to show respect to the Master than sacrificing the well-being of a life."

Wu Hung said that of the 118 temples they talked to, only three have held the contest in recent years.

"Sansia's (三峽) Master Temple in Taipei County is the only one that holds the contest annually," he said.

"We earnestly plead with them to end it," he said.

After the press conference a parade of ACFA volunteers boarded a bus to Sansia's Master Temple to offer them "an alternative way to respect God" -- a colorful, life-sized, smiling pig made of cardboard and decorated with flowers and candy, Wu Hung said.

They were met, however, by Sansia's police force and local government officials, who blocked the parade's entrance to the temple, saying they were in violation of the Assembly and Parade Law (集會遊行法), said Wu Hung.

"The officials told us to respect local traditions and refused the cardboard pig," he said.

"However, we received some local cheers, and in the end we went into the temple to offer flowers and candy to the Master to pay our respects," he said.

Responses (4)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by JohnnySensible at 12/07/07 23:54:35

    I wish you good success in Taiwan Jeffrey!


    From "Yahoo News" yesterday - "Exploding pigs brains"

    The actual headline was less dramatic - "Minn. slaughterhouse workers fall ill"

    Excerpts -
    = On the slaughterhouse floor at Quality Pork Processors Inc. is an area known as the "head table," but not because it is the place of honor. It is where workers cut up pigs' heads and then shoot compressed air into the skulls until the brains come spilling out.

    But now the grisly practice has come under suspicion from health authorities.

    Over eight months from last December through July, 11 workers at the plant in Austin, Minn. — all of them employed at the head table — developed numbness, tingling or other neurological symptoms, and some scientists suspect inhaled airborne brain matter may have somehow triggered the illnesses.

    The use of compressed air to remove pig brains was suspended at Quality Pork earlier this week while authorities try to get to the bottom of the mystery.

    "I'm still in shock, I guess," said 37-year-old Susan Kruse, who worked at the plant for 15 years until she got too weak to do her job last February. "But it was very surprising to hear that there was that many other people that have gotten this."

    Five of the workers — including Kruse, who has been told she may never work again — have been diagnosed with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, or CIDP, a rare immune disorder that attacks the nerves and produces tingling, numbness and weakness in the arms and legs, sometimes causing lasting damage. =

    = Quality Pork has not said what it does with the pork brains. Sold fresh and in cans, pork brains are fried and eaten in sandwiches or gravy in some parts of the country. But it is a small market, and the American Meat Institute, which represents most of the nation's pork processors, does not even track sales. =


    In the movie "Mars Attacks" they exploded the brains of the Martians courtesy of Slim Whitman -

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AlmostVeggie at 12/08/07 12:37:02

    Ick, Minnesota is where I live. Boooooooo. *shivers* shooting air into the skull until the brains come out. *vomits*

  • Gorgeous's avatar
    Report Abuse

    Posted by Gorgeous at 12/15/07 20:28:11

    One less - this rescued pig will becone an educator -
    Festive cruelty gets the chop


    December 16, 2007 12:00am
    LITTLE Miss Celeste stole the limelight yesterday at a special barbecue in Hobart's Franklin Square.

    The nine-week-old piglet was saved from becoming Christmas dinner when she was bought at Bridgewater Saleyards two weeks ago.

    "We rescue a pig every year," said Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania volunteer Emma Haswell.

    Cruelty-free sausages and burgers were cooked up at the group's barbecue to encourage people to think about what they eat at Christmas time.

    Group spokeswoman Kathleen McLaren said Christmas was a time of kindness, caring and compassion.

    "Yet the traditional Christmas dinner features the meat of pigs, chickens and turkeys," she said.

    "Most of these animals have suffered cruelty and extreme confinement in factory farms.

    "By buying these products, people are contributing to an industry which routinely cages, crowds, deprives, mutilates and manhandles hundreds of thousands of animals."

    After the rescued pigs take part in Against Animal Cruelty Tasmania's schools program, they are given a life of pampering at a special sanctuary for farm animals.

    Ms Haswell said all the rescued pigs knew how lucky they were.

    "Research shows that pigs are smarter than dogs," she said.

    "Pigs can use a computer."

    "She said there were more than 120 animals at the farm sanctuary.

    "The pigs are friends with every single one of them," she said.

  • Gorgeous's avatar
    Report Abuse

    Posted by Gorgeous at 12/21/07 22:29:05

    Pigs in "the land of the free" -

    North Carolina Slaughterhouse Workers Fired for Brutally Abusing Pigs
    Friday , December 21, 2007

    By Catherine Donaldson-Evans

    Workers at a North Carolina slaughterhouse caught on hidden camera brutally abusing pigs have been fired.

    Several employees of Murphy Family Ventures, which owns pig-breeding farms that supply the country's largest pork producer Smithfield Foods, were filmed by an undercover investigator from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) dragging and beating swine, gouging out their eyes and castrating their babies without painkillers.

    A supervisor was also taped admitting to violently mistreating the pigs.

    "Non-conformances to the company's animal welfare policy were found," Don Butler of Smithfield's livestock subsidiary Murphy-Brown LLC (a different company from Murphy Family Ventures) wrote in an e-mail to PETA that was supplied to "Appropriate actions have been taken, including termination of those who violated the policy."

    All existing and future employees will also be forced to sign contracts promising not to abuse animals, according to PETA.

    It wasn't known how many workers were fired at the 2,200-pig farm. Murphy-Brown LLC didn't return calls seeking comment, and Murphy Family Ventures declined to offer details.

    "Appropriate disciplinary actions have been taken," said a Murphy Family Ventures representative.

    Earlier this month, the prosecutor's office in Sampson County, N.C., opened an investigation into allegations of animal cruelty after PETA lawyers turned over affidavits and videotapes of the reported abuse.

    The undercover PETA investigator, who worked at the slaughterhouse in Garland, N.C., for $7 an hour from Sept. 13 until Nov. 2 of this year, said he witnessed constant atrocities.

    "[The abuse of pigs] happened every day," the PETA employee told on Dec. 12, speaking on condition of anonymity. "You can't even capture the full horror of what goes on there."

    In the grainy, black-and-white video, pigs with the word "KILL" spray-painted on their backs scream as they're yanked to slaughter with a heavy metal prodder attached to their legs, ears and snouts, and women laugh as they cut off the testicles of one piglet after another without anesthesia.

    In a different segment, a supervisor boasts about beating the animals.

    "I ain't going to lie to you; I've done it," he says. "I have knocked the s— out of them. Like that one bit me the other morning, that mother f—.... I cut the s— out of his G—d— nose with a f— gate rod."

    The PETA investigator said he also saw people cutting off the tails of baby pigs, as well as other horrors. Castration and tail-chopping without painkillers are general practice at swine slaughterhouses, according to the animal rights group.

    Smithfield's firing of the workers at Murphy Family Ventures Garland Sow Farm is "the very least they could have done," said PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. "Our hope is that they will implement a policy so PETA doesn't have to alert them when their workers are abusing animals."

    PETA wants all employees involved in the violent mistreatment of the pigs to be charged with animal cruelty, a criminal offense that is generally classified as a misdemeanor under North Carolina law — though some acts are considered felonies.

    Sampson County District Attorney G. Dewey Hudson and local law enforcement are still reviewing the case.

    "Our initial meeting and subsequent conversations with him have been very encouraging," Friedrich said of the prosecutor.

    Murphy Family Ventures pig-breeding farms and slaughterhouses are under contract with Smithfield Foods' Murphy-Brown as pork suppliers.

    PETA is calling on Smithfield Foods and its contractors to more aggressively enforce the humane treatment of the animals. The group wants surveillance cameras installed and regular undercover investigations to be conducted internally. It also wants a ban on the use of tiny gestation crates, where the pigs are kept and raised.

    Smithfield has come under fire before for human rights violations and the hiring of illegal workers.

    Murphy Family Ventures LLC
    Email: dgibbs (at)
    Phone: 866-5MURFAM
    Fax: 417-667-7432
    +"Murphy Family Ventures is committed to employing and retaining people who want to apply their talents to the production of quality pork for the national food chain. Interesting facts relative to pork production are as follows:

    • North Carolina has 95,000 sows
    • Missouri has 60,000 sows
    • North Carolina produces 336,000 market hogs and 2,068,000 wean pigs annually
    • Missouri produces 38,400 market hogs and 1,166,000 wean pigs annually

    The Murphy Family has been in the swine industry for over 40 years. The organization was built on hard work and dedication. The Swine Production division employs almost 400 employees in North Carolina and over 250 employees in Missouri." +

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