Michigan: Hog Farmers to Lose their Property & Right to Raise Diverse Animals

by brenda on April 5, 2012

As a hog farmer (who appreciates heritage breeds and pigs who forage), I am concerned about this Michigan ruling. Here are some of the pigs we raised last summer. They are part-hertitage breed. We plan to eventually raise all heritage breed pigs (for natural foraging abilities, better quality meat, better bacon, better lard, etc.), and I hate to think that the state could step in and take away our hogs because they don’t like the typical, big-ag, commercially grown ones. We’re not in Michigan, thankfully, but I think what these farmers are having to deal with is terrible.

In Michigan, if you own a pig that looks anything remotely like a wild pig (based on having 1 or more of the same physical features), the state has the right to take your pig and destroy it, without compensating you. Is your pig black? Does it have a straight tail? Do the ears stick up? Three strikes, you’re out! You lose your personal property & you are charged with possessing something illegal.

Of course, heritage breeds of pigs that forage are big competition for commercial pork growers, so they are behind this law. Why not wipe out all of the heritage breeds & only allow people to raise hogs that were bred for confinement (CAFO) conditions. Of course, brilliant! It’s just, put simply, pork genocide and in the world of pigs, it’s like ethnic cleansing. Kill off the ones you don’t like (i.e. don’t want your competition selling) and keep the ones that you profit the most on….Hello people, God created different breeds of pigs, let’s let His creation live on! Until we turn them into bacon, of course. 🙂 But let’s breed them first, keep the different pig ethnicities from going extinct, and eat healthier meat while we are at it.

It’s scary that Michigan state is able to destroy a pig based on it’s physical features. Have you looked at pigs much? Check out these photos.

This is a wild pig:

This is a Tamworth pig, one of the oldest breeds of hogs. They gain weight slowly compared to commercial hogs, and they don’t hold up under confinement conditions. They love grazing pasture, have good maternal instincts, and they make really good bacon.

These are Red Wattle hogs, known for their foraging abilities, hardiness, adaptability to many climates, lean, tender and flavorful meat and rapid growth rate:

These are wild pigs:

These are some Large Black hogs, which are docile animals who are very good at grazing. In fact, a large portion of their food can be from grazing alone. They create extra-tender pork that is lean but flavorful, and many upscale restaurants prize their meat. They are listed as Critically Endangered.

This is a Guinea Hog, which is an extremely calm animal with good mothering capabilities. They thrive on grazing, even do well on low grade forage (unlike some breeds), and they are known for their amazing lard.

These are Berkshire hogs, which are hardy hogs with a friendly disposition. They are known for their meat’s marbling–it is juicy and extremely flavorful. They are good breeders, the sows make good mothers, and they are active foragers.

I appreciate diversity among farm animals. I don’t want every pig on every farm to look like this because some politician decided that this is the only acceptable breed:

Cute, but not practical, not good at foraging, not good for bacon, and not good at living in the sun (it gets sunburned).

Want more facts about this mess in Michigan?

Do you believe that farmers should have the right to raise any breed of pig they choose? Share your thoughts here!

 

photo credits: minds-eye, Randy Stewart, nosa disco necesitanos, shielaellen, jonny.hunter, Drew Avery, amandabhslater

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen K April 6, 2012 at 8:33 am

Where does it stop? The government decides based on physical appearance that some pigs are undesirable. Will they someday decide that people with buck teeth are undesirable? What about blue eyes? Ears that stick out? Why not look at the pig’s behavior? Habitat? Whether or not it is owned and confined?

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Justbeingmomma April 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

Is there a update anywhere on this?

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