Giant pigs as heavy as polar bears

Hogzilla: This pig weighs 500 kilos — as much as a polar bear. © Reuters

Should breeding giant animals be banned? China is creating “super pigs” to feed its pork-loving masses. Without them, people will go hungry. But surely, the suffering it causes is wrong?

What’s happening

The huge pig lumbers across its pen. Its weight is roughly the same as a black rhino or a polar bear. Neither its joints nor its inner organs are designed to carry this huge burden.

On its back — as if it needed any more to carry — proudly sits Pang Cong, a farmer from the Chinese city of Nanning.

Find out more

A deadly virus has wiped out as much as half of China’s pig population. That’s a big problem for a country whose people’s favourite meat is pork. As prices get higher, the government is trying to get farmers to raise more swine.

These very large animals are never healthy and rarely escape suffering.

The biggest domestic pig ever recorded was 1,157-kilo Big Bill from Jackson, Tennessee. Big Bill had to be put down before he could travel to the Chicago World Fair in 1933 because his legs could no longer bear his weight.

Yet China is desperate. Its huge population is already angry about living standards and inequality. China’s premier, Li Keqiang, and the country’s top governing body have called the meat crisis a “national priority”.

Some say…

This should be banned. Most hugely oversized pigs end up suffering terribly from health complications. In 2004, another massive 900-kilo hog named Ton Pig, bred in China, died from a lack of mobility because of its obesity.

Others think…

People are more important than pigs. China has a huge population and, without cheap pork, many of them will get hungry and ill. Hungry people can easily create revolutions — and revolutions cause many deaths. Our duty is put people before pigs.

You Decide

  1. Is eating meat wrong?

Activities

  1. Make a poster announcing that giant pigs are banned!

Some People Say...

“Humanity’s true moral test […] consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.”

Milan Kundera, Czech-born French writer

What do you think?

Word Watch

Lumbers
Moves in a slow and awkward way.
Joints
Where two or more bones meet.
Burden
A heavy load.
Virus
A tiny infectious particle that lives inside a living organism.
Swine
Pig.
Domestic pig
A pet pig.
Put down
To kill.
Chicago World Fair
A giant fair held from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the technological marvels of America after the depression. Visitors saw the latest inventions in rail travel, cars, buildings and even robots.
Inequality
When things are unequal between people because of their wealth, race or gender, for example.
Premier
The country’s leader.
Priority
The most important thing.
Mobility
Ability to move.
Obesity
Being very overweight.
Revolutions
Taking over the government to bring about change for people. A rebellion.

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