At 12.30pm on January 30th, 2015 I received a phone call. The caller was upset, she said “This place is disgusting Tam. There’s swarms of flies everywhere. There’s pig skeletons. It’s horrific”. I hung up with a heavy heart with images of intensive piggeries I’d visited in the past in my mind. Ten minutes later I got another call – “I’m on the way to your house. I have a pig. She’s so sick”.
I looked into the back seat of the car to see a pale, emaciated pig looking back at me. She had sores all over her body. She had massive wounds on each ear. She was incredibly small for her age. She had a septic, open wound on her back left hock. Her ribs were showing. Even though she felt so incredibly sick, she still acknowledged me when I patted her and then she looked up to the sky and smiled.
My friend carried her into the vet consultation room that they had prepared just for us. Her first tentative steps on the floor made her slightly confused because of it’s slippery texture, but she didn’t take long to get used to it. She was off wandering around the room, looking under the desk and checking out the bin before we knew it. She was quite wary of us at first. She looked at us with a querying looking in her eyes and wasn’t too happy to have us put her hands out to her. She walked around, keeping a close eye on us for about ten minutes and then all of a sudden she decided that we were ok, that we weren’t going to hurt her and that she would accept our offer of friendship. Her decision then saw her start giving us kisses with her snout. For such an abused, sickly pig to trust us so quickly was heart warming and a testament to how clever these animals are and how their ability to read energy is so very strong.
Her wounds were dressed. She was treated for worms and mange. She was given heavy duty antibiotics and she was booked in for a full body check over under anaesthetic in two days time. Her prognosis was “All we can do is try. We’ll try” but it was said with an undertone of “please be prepared, she’s an incredibly sick little pig”.
On the way home she sparked up considerably and the decision was made to put the child locks on the doors of the car because she was so smart that she was trying to open the doors. We did notice that she would take food, but was unable to actually swallow it. Whilst she was under anaesthetic a few days later, the vet found a large tumour in her throat. Whether it was malignant or benign was unknown at that stage. She was put on medication in hope it would shrink. She then started to eat food and really enjoy it.
She spent the next four days learning about her new life, making friends and being loved. She learnt how to open every door in the house. She taught her carer how to know she was asking for food. Her carer expressed the following thoughts about Scully –
“The thing that really stands out for me was how incredibly human-like she was in her intelligence, awareness and emotions. It seems sadly strange that we spend so much time wondering if we’re the only intelligent creatures in the universe, and yet we co-exist on this earth with animals like pigs. She recognised there was a verbal communication barrier between us, so she taught me how to understand her and her needs. Everything else was conveyed with tenderness and affection. She loved the other animals – she played with the kitten as we would. She recognised he was only a baby and she adjusted her behaviour to play with him as an adult would a child. She learnt very quickly how to manipulate and navigate through her environment. I didn’t teach her. She learnt – or it appeared obvious to her. “
Early on a Tuesday morning ( February 4, 2015) Scully left the world unexpectedly. Her little body just couldn’t cope and couldn’t go on. The vet surmised that she died from a heart attack, which would have come about from internal bleeding which was going on for some time and the huge infection her body was trying to fight. In her 4.5 days of freedom she experienced more than any farmed pig ever does. She charmed the world.
Right now, in Australia, more than 5 million pigs are trapped in intensive piggeries. Each one of these pigs is an individual just like Scully was. How can you help? Stop purchasing animal products. These farms exist directly because of consumer demand. Please choose kindness when you eat. You don’t need to eat individuals like Scully. They want to live.
To view the lives of pigs who live in intensive piggeries, please look through my series “A Pig’s Life”
Please don’t use my images without permission. All images are Copyright Tamara Kenneally