Sows Go To Market

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post to say that my two sows went to market on Monday.

I bought Cagney and Lacy from a friend back in July 2007 and I have looked after them practically everyday for the last two years bar a few days away. Cagney and Lacy were pedigree British Saddleback pigs with lovely temperaments who were kept on my farm for breeding.

The sows produced 4 litters each and alot of piglets between them – I’ll have to work out how many as I can’t remember.

Although I didn’t want to send the two sows to market I had to consider doing so as the sows had more recently suffered with mastitis and erysiphelas. After consulting the vet and my neighbour who I bought the sows from and both my fatherinlaw and husband thinking they should go I made the decision to sell them at market.

I would have loved to have kept them as pet pigs but when married to a farmer, pet animals are not on the agenda and I do understand this although it doesn’t make it any easier to part with them. I did consider selling them to a smallholder but as Cagney has had mastitis twice, the last time just days after she had 16 piglets, I was worried that she may get it again and this would be difficult and painful for her with her piglets as well as difficult and stressful for the owner who may have to hand rear some or all of the piglets. Lacy wasn’t without her health problems. She had a mild case of mastitis after her second litter but recovered quickly and just recently she got an illness that can affect fertility.

I also didn’t want to keep one sow without the other as they were sisters and good company for each other and pigs are such social creatures they would have been lost without their mate if I had just kept one of them.

My father-in-law came with the trailer on Monday morning and we loaded the pigs, which is never an easy task, which on this occasion I was thankful for as it took my mind off the fact that my beloved sows were leaving the farm.

I feel like I have betrayed them and although they had a good life on the farm whilst they were with me, I do question what right I had to make the decision to send them to market and indeed slaughter.  Standing here with a healthy cheque doesn’t make me feel any better.

The problem is that I didn’t see the sows as a farm commodity but more as my pets that I loved and care for everyday, so with a heavy heart I say farewell to my beloved Cagney and Lacy.

4 thoughts on “Sows Go To Market”

  1. Hi Katie,
    Good to hear from you. Cagney and Lacy were about 3 and a half years old, which doesn’t sound very old but then when you consider those pigs that are just fattened up and killed at only 4-6 months old then 3 and a half years doesn’t sound too bad. It doesn’t make me feel any better and I still feel very guilty that I made the decision to send them to market.
    I would have loved to have kept Cagney and Lacy in the back field for the rest of their days but alas the farmers wouldn’t allow me to do this. My only consolation is that I loved those pigs very much and gave them a good quality of life whilst they were here on my farm. They loved to have a roam about ther fold yard everyday. they got fresh straw daily and mucked out twice a day. They loved their sow pellets, barley and fresh veg.
    I still miss them very much and I get a pang in my heart when I think about their fate.
    Hope all well with your kune kunes.
    Best Wishes
    Sara @ farmingfriends

  2. how old were they. since i have been talking to you about my kune kunes i thought you still had them! i had two saddlebacks a few years agoo called tinkerbell and tullalah i sold them as they got far too big for me to handle the bloke who brought them said he was just going to breed from them but when i went to see them he said that i couldnt as they were resting after there litter had been weaned i was horrified at the thought that this man had killed my girls it was horrible!!

  3. So sorry to hear that Cagney & Lacey have gone – we have followed their activities with great pleasure! It is sad to see them go, but it is even sadder to watch them suffer. As animals get older they get all sorts of aches and pains, & it grieves me to see their owners giving them more & more medication to keep them alive. I think it is much kinder to say goodbye before they suffer too much.
    Cagney & Lacey have had a very happy life – which is the most you can give them.

  4. That must have been a hard decision to make. I’m so sorry for your sadness and I appreciate you sharing it. I think the world would be a better place if more people were as thoughtful and respectful of the gift of animals. It is hard to have animals and raise them and take care of them and then slaughter them. It sounds like they had a lovely life and were loved and well cared for. I say that not to make you feel better, but because it is true. 🙂

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