Archived Story

Hog killin’ column — really?

Published 10:59am Saturday, February 23, 2013

by Sue Perna

My, my talk about baiting your kind-hearted audience.

Ok, I’ll bite.

A hog killing column, seriously? (“A day of hog killin’ on Southampton County farm,” Feb. 23) Yes, seriously, for those of you who were lucky enough to have missed it.

Archie Howell went into deathly detail about slaughtering animals — pigs to be precise — animals known to be as smart or smarter than dogs. Animals, that if they weren’t cruelly confined in small pens and driven to madness and meanness by boredom and frustration, are sweet companion animals.

Ok, just so I understand this right. What we have here is an animal killing column one week followed up by an essay on what to do with the carcasses of the animals who were chronicled being killed the week before? And that’s normal?

These commentaries were so rife with apathy, slaughter, blood, intestines that they could’ve been excerpts from a Wes Craven script, but they weren’t, so what were they?

Were they meant to be informative? Why? So that we too can kill animals in the privacy of our own barns?

Or were the murderous missives being peddled more as entertainment? Because if that’s the deal, then The Tidewater News could further regale its blood thirsty readership with photos and stories of animals electrocuted in fur farms, calves trapped in tiny veal crates crying for their mothers or beagles being force fed oven cleaner in product testing laboratories. These atrocities, uh, I mean these amusements all come to the same end — dead animals.

If all the abattoir talk was meant to be informative, I’d like to offer up a viewpoint from somebody who is not an advocate of such awful goings on. There seems to be this unyielding and pervasive notion in some people’s minds that killing farmed animals is just one of those “necessary evils.”

Well, it isn’t anymore, if it ever was.

As far as pigs go, I eat everything that Archie is killing those animals for without hurting anyone. There is cruelty-free bacon, sausage patties/links, ham slices, ham to make ham salad, smoked seasoning instead of ham hocks.

These alternatives and more not listed all do four important things.

* Nobody dies in their production

* They are good for your body and mind.

* Thousands of pounds of excrement and millions of gallons of urine are not produced year after year after year and are not disposed of in our waterways or sprayed onto plants in fields exposing all of us to E-coli.

* And most importantly of all, our children are taught good environmental husbandry and are stopped from being continually indoctrinated into complete desensitization toward all animals other than cats and dogs.

Our society appears so utterly flummoxed by the problems of pollution and violence in our country these days. Well, I offer up a simple start to an excellent ending and it begins with a sandwich, and how you build that seemingly silly little sandwich.

You can either elicit environmental destruction, provoke untold sadness and continue to perpetuate the ethical indifference borne from adhering to that ridiculous, antiquated credo that animals MUST DIE so that we may live or, you can educate yourself to the repercussions of your actions and be a proud source for change — for the good of all, humans and non-humans alike.

SUE PERNA is a Wakefield resident and can be reached at sueperna@hughes.net.

  • happycamper

    I can’t believe the space we’ve all devoted to an obvios “politically correct” kook who believes that animals have human characteristics. Bring on the bacon!

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    • sue perna

      News Flash:
      Local woman, Sue Perna, plays game of chess with pig and LOSES. “The Tidewater News” was later granted an interview with the now reclusive woman who has been in hiding since the match ended. When reporter, Kookie McBacon, asked how Perna felt about losing a game-which some would dub an intellectual game-to a pig, Perna scratched her head and whispered “Let’s just say, I am not a happy camper.”
      Last week, “The Associated Press” reported that the chess playing pig is now on his way to Russia to participate in “The 2013 U.S.S.R. International Chess Championship.”

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  • goodgirl

    If you grew up on a farm in the country 50 years ago and raised hogs, chickens, etc, it was very likely an animal was killed/slaughtered to feed your family. That’s what you did back then. It was a way of life. Choosing to be vegetarian is fine, but don’t criticize somone’s memories of a common way of life at that time.

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  • Dakota01

    Nobody put a gun to your head and made you read the artcle did they? If you knew the article would upset you then why read it.

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  • http://www.blackwaternottoway.com Jeff Turner

    I just wish skeeters would turn vegan!

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  • Makalani

    Hang in there Sue!
    You got your work cut out for you!
    So far — you’re doing GREAT!
    If you need me to lob a few “tofu hand grenades” — HOLLA!

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  • Makalani

    @walters_native — RE: “But just like most liberals if someone dosent think or believe like you do they are wrong.”

    You are implying that vegetarians are liberals! How did you ascertain that/make that leap?
    Not to get sidetracked from discussing eating dead animals but I have to address your remark because it implies a stereotype!

    FYI — I am a fiscal conservative — against taxing/spending/growth of govt!

    FYI 2 — In my 40 years of associating with vegetarians at various events — I have met some from all political/social stripes/walks of life: (Ds) (Rs) — conservative — liberal — Tea Party — independents — admirers of George Wallace/David Duke/Jessie Jackson/Al Sharpton — rednecks — white supremacists — Black Panthers/radicals — communists — Socialists — blue collar — white collar — high school dropouts — college professors — gunnutz — gun haters to name a few.

    Please don’t stereotype vegetarians! They are as diverse politically as any other large group! Stereotypes never stand up to scrutiny!

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  • Makalani

    @walters_native — RE: “I respect you views and right to chose what you want to eat, but dont try to push them on others who choose different.”

    RE: “You follow your way and respect the right of others to do the same.”

    I forgive you for not reading my entire posts and/or not fully understanding them if you did. They were rather verbose. Here is a brief synopsis relative to your statements above:

    Makalani February 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm:
    “I read both of Archie’s … columns … with nostalgia [fond remembrance] as opposed to abhorrence” [disgust].
    “However — I realize that vegetarianism is an individual choice — not for everybody and something carnivores can‘t be browbeat into adapting.”

    I GET people’s enjoyment of meat but I am still repulsed! I was not born and raised a vegetarian. As a kid — I ate whatever was presented — be it chicken — chitlins — cracklin bread — pork brains with scrambled eggs — deer — rabbit — squirrel or whatever animal my father — an avid hunter — murdered and brought home.

    Even today — my lady will eat a chitlin a mile long if you present it to her. I wouldn’t try to stop her nor will I put her out of the house after she eats chitlins/other parts of dead animal carcasses! I rather she didn’t but her carnivorous habits don’t directly affect me!

    Don’t get it twisted — my disapproval of eating dead animals and using nasty adjectives to describe that disgusting habit probably won’t cause anyone to bypass Sprawl-Mart’s dead animal carcass coolers/meat dept!

    If anyone is offended by my abrasive adjectives — perhaps they should stop eating dead animal carcasses! lol

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  • walters_native

    Sue and Makalani, I think you missed the entire point of the story. Hog killings at onetime were an important part of the culture in the south. It was just as much about community and family as about the killing of the animals. It was about the community coming together to help prov ide for their families. I went to many hog killings as a child. I dont remember the killing,i remember the time spent with family and friends, working together. In this day and time with the fast paced life of most people,and no sense of community, maybe more hog killings are needed. I respect you views and right to chose what you want to eat,but dont try to push them on others who choose different. If you care so much about all of gods creatures maybe you should think about other things you do affects animlas. What you wear,where you live,and the fact you drive affects a creatures every minute of everyday. You follow your way and respect the right of others to do the same.

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    • sue perna

      Walters~ Oh, how I would LOVE to NOT discuss these issues that bring me such pain but alas “..not pushing others” and not “respecting others to do”(“what ever they want ) e.g. kill/have animals killed for them would be saying in essence that I don’t give a damn about the downtrodden who can’t speak for themselves and I could care less that our planet is being polluted in a way that it need not be. How could anyone with a conscience and a modicum of writing/speaking ability do that? I’d be just another person sitting in a chair doing nothing to make our society better, what a wasted life that would be.
      And, of course, I think about what I wear, how I live….remember? I’m the girl who likes animals/the environment-that’s my ENTIRE case. Maybe you were just kidding….

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      • walters_native

        If you understood the natral world so well then you would know that animals killing and eating animals are just part of the life cycle of life. And you may not believe that we are animals but we are. According to evolution our closest relative is a chimp, a ANIMAL that kills and eats other animals. And no i wasnt jokin about how even you affect animlas with your everyday life. Do you wear cotton cloths? Thing of all the insects and other small animals that die in the growing of cotton. Ever run over a small animal by accident? But just like most liberals if someone dosent think or believe like you do they are wrong. Me i say to each to their own.

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  • JDHowell

    Ms. Perna

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. I thought your article was directed toward the TN, and questioned the papers choice of subject or articles. I believe you stated your opinion with an obvious vocabulary capable of appropriate definition.

    And what more valid forum to present that opinion than a community/regional newspaper? I looked back at the last year or so, and it seems to be a fairly diverse cross section of opinion and experience on the editorial page.

    If I separated myself from persons of differing opinions, I’d have an uninteresting and lonely life. My life is full to overflowing on a routine basis. I’m not ashamed of my heritage. Your opinion will not alter the warmness I feel toward the people of Southampton County, past and present.

    Memories of my youth are just that. I think others in the community share a portion of those memories; certainly some, still alive, were a part of the experience. I’m grateful.

    I hope the TN continues to print my articles; I hope the TN will print yours if you continue to send them. I believe that’s a very important purpose for the first amendment, the freedom to think, act, speak, publish and petition for or against any issue considered important.

    Kindest regards

    Archie

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    • sue perna

      Archie~If mere “differing opinions” didn’t get animals killed I’d say “rock on with your bad self” but yours and others “opinions” towards the rights of animals is fraught with suffering and death and on a more universal level, these notions poison the planet we all share. This is very personal, we all have a stake in these issues. Those who sit back and do nothing should feel ashamed of themselves for not being an active citizen of society/humanity and it is especially shameful if they condone these foul practices AND have children who will grow up and be forced to deal with the mess their carnivorous predecessors have left in their wake.

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      • JDHowell

        Ms. Perna

        Differences of opinion get people and animals killed every day, by the hundreds. Does your life value extend to fish and fowl? Does it include grubs, grasshoppers, and a variety of insects? No, these are not facetious questions. At some point, the human species decided to use what Nature provided as a food source. Creatures great and small, with gills and without.

        Some societies raise and slaughter dogs, cats, and other small animals. Snakes, alligators, turtles, shellfish, and other sea creatures share space on menus with lettuce and green beans.

        So, the question is “What are your specific requirements?” Do you view all living creatures so valuable as to be preserved for their natural lifespan?

        At some point in our past, our ancestors decided to become village builders and to domesticate animals for a VERY wide variety of applications, including food. Food is easier to preserve if it’s living, and will be available for a longer period of time. It can also travel to new home sites, and be used as a medium of trade.

        Livestock is exactly that.

        Has the need for that passed? Not if people choose to continue. And it’s their choice.

        On another, perhaps lesser, note, you don’t know my opinions about the rights of animals. I don’t think I’ve ever voiced them on this website. What I do in the privacy of my kitchen with other consenting adults is a private matter.

        I don’t think these message boards will permit images. If they did, I could provide you with a picture of my young, dashing self, perhaps in uniform, perhaps with an appropriate sly grin.

        Kindest regards

        Archie

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  • Makalani

    @Sue-Congrats! You are holding your own engaging in a verbal slugfest with the flesh-laced-with-hormones-antibiotics-adrenaline-meat-loving-aggressive-carnivores.
    I got your back and will chime in with a few “tofu hardballs” if things get too hot and heavy!lol
    Come on vegetarians/vegans–weigh in! Let these carnivores know that we are many and “meat = murder!”

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  • stkittchick

    Bravo, Ms. Perna, Bravo! We find a million and one excuses to continue the carnage, but the simple fact remains: Go vegetarian/Vegan and no one has to suffer and die for a fleeting meal. It’s 2013: Hunting should be abolished. Can’t we just flat out leave the animals to alone? To live their lives and go about their business just like we want to be allowed to do?

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  • http://www.blackwaternottoway.com Jeff Turner

    I certainly agree with the environmental message of the writer. CAFO operations are a travesty and are a major contributor of pollution into our waterways. The hog operation on the upper Blackwater River is a prime example. I would like nothing better that to see that disappear. That being said, I also must say that I too am a lover of animals.
    They are so tasty!

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    • sue perna

      Jeff~So ruin our ecosystem cuz “they’re tasty.” Alrighty then….

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  • employee2

    I see the articles as a nostalgic look back at times that were. He is not celebrating the death of the animals. I believe no matter what is written, you will disagree with. You also state that you eat all the things that Archie described, but “no one was injured”. The only thing killed in his article was the pig. A bullet through the skull was about as humane as they could be during those times.

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    • sue perna

      Yes, Employee2, I do “eat all the things” that Archie was killing pigs for. He was killing them for the same reason Smithfield kills them by the millions-for bacon, ham, sausage….and those other less main stream things like the offal: chitlins, scrapple…. The main stream items all can be found in vegetarian form at nearly all grocery stories.
      And, yes, I do NOT want farmed animals being killed (no matter what excuse is given) for all the reasons listed below. I don’t “get” ending the life of somebody who doesn’t want it ended. And the psychological disconnect necessary to do such things to others makes me shudder.
      I don’t want excrement and urine of the billions of animals killed each year ending up in my water and sprayed onto my vegetables.
      I find this way of thinking quite practical for the survival of our planet and ourselves.

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  • sue perna

    Makalani…you rock and are hilarious

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  • Makalani

    @ Sue — Thanx for your very reasoned response.
    Since you and I are kindred spirits diet-wise — it’s not necessary for us to engage in a water-tossing contest over methodology.

    Nor do I need to further defend Mr. Howell. He is quite adept as a writer and fully capable of defending his own POV.

    I fully understand/relate to your disgust — passion and zeal relative to the wholesale raising — murdering — butchering/eating dead animals with the attendant environmentmental degradation. I am just a “tad” less vociferous and strident. LOL But by all means — you continue to do you!

    I will contact you via email — get your physical address and Fed-Ex you a Bobby Bonds autographed Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Perhaps you can disabuse a few carnivores of their dead-animal-eating-notions with a few strategically placed blows to the “noggin!” LOL

    PS: I will start working on an anti-slaughtering/ murdering-eating-dead-animal-carcasses-pro-vegetarian piece fortwith.
    Stay tuned!
    Thanx for the suggestion!

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  • sue perna

    P.S. PLEASE Makalani write your type of column. “The Tidewater News” would be happy to print it, I’m sure. You’re a great writer and maybe YOU may be a better impetus for change than I. I don’t care who the messenger is as long as these voiceless, perpetually violated creatures are helped. I’ve seen too much-fur farms, circuses, factory farms, slaughterhouses …I AM jaded. I AM mad. I AM angry and disillusioned and in total belief that human beings-MY own species- can treat others with such utter disregard.

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  • Makalani

    Having been a vegetarian since 1973 — I read both of Archie’s “animal murdering/carcass preparation/dead meat eating” columns (to use the writer’s inflammatory PETA-type vernacular LOL) with nostalgia as opposed to abhorrence.

    Those animals in Mr. Howell story wouldn’t be alive today even if they had been spared and made family pets. AND it is not like he is STILL slaughtering hogs in his back yard and making “dandoodles.”

    After working in a chicken processing plant for a few months — opting to eschew (no pun intended) eating chickens immediately and meat a few years later was an easy choice me. However — I realize that vegetarianism is an individual choice — not for everybody and something carnivores can‘t be browbeat into adapting.

    What I also have learned as a 40-year-vegetarian is that shrill — accusatory — adjective-laced — bombast replete with graphic — gory details about killing animals does little to sway carnivores from consuming meat.

    When I relate stories of my chicken slaughterhouse experience to chicken lovers — most change the subject or accuse me of lying.

    Many don’t believe that I observed dead chickens that had died in transit being processed when the inspector was not looking. Or that some chickens with tumors were not discarded but were processed for parts. Because of the large volumes of animals processed — inspection was an “iffy proposition!” I would even call it haphazard!

    However — I still try to educate people who ask me abut vegetarianism by CALMLY explaining the health benefits! And if they are receptive to that — I then explain the adverse environmental and other negative effects of raising millions of animals for consumption.

    Castigating Mr. Howell for simply “strolling down “Carnivore Avenue/Lane” and verbally beating up on carnivores probably does little to convince many of the errors of their ways/food choices.

    Perhaps a more positive column extolling the virtues of vegetarianism relative to better overall health — more “masculine stamina” — less costly excursions into Sprawl-Mart’s grocery aisles and other benefits will win US more vegetarian converts.

    “What say you?”

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  • franklinsince50

    I agree with the columnist. Howell’s columns are boring and in this case, they are distasteful.

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    • sue perna

      …and Mr Howell’s expression in his photo speaks volumes about his disconnect for what he does to those poor animals. His expressionless face seems to denote the mercy he shows them-which of course is none.

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      • employee2

        It is the same picture that has accompanied all the articles he has submitted to the Tidewater News. You fail to gather the concept of an article that the author is describing for people who may have participated in to survive. I respect your view, and you are entitled to it, but you are not entitled to wrongly address a man’s picture as to his feelings about times past.

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  • Curiousreader

    Thank you so much for bringing this article to my attention. I had not read it, but did take the time to do so this morning. Mr. Howell’s descriptive writings bring back memories of sitting around a large table filled with the fruits of my family’s labors. We shared the home grown veges, fruits and yes meat. Our chickens, steers and pigs were raised for the purpose of feeding our family by selling the animal on the hoof and saving back a few for butchering for our tables. These were not pets. These were raised with the appropriate farming mechanics of our time. They were killed as “humanely” as possible. Their sacrifice was honored by the farmer by using every scrap of the animal possible. There was no wasteful killing.
    Mr. Howell, like a large majority of this areas local residents, fondly remember these rituals as a social time, shared with friends and family. Tales of these bygone days are still shared around the dinner table today. AND if it bothers you, don’t read it!

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    • sue perna

      Makalani~Coddling those who kill animals doesn’t work. And the adjectives I chose were the correct adjectives for what Archie and his killing brethren do-they kill animals. There is blood, there are entrails, animals are cruelly confined, and they scream and cry when they see what is no store for them. What is done to them IS bombastic, graphic and gory. If it were YOU being subjected to such atrocities, you would be on your knees thanking people like me for having the balls to speak the truth about what goes on. I am just so thankful that eating meat is bad for you because so many people just plain could care less about the suffering they cause others but if it hurts THEM, then they are inclined to at least ponder a bit….I stand behind every word I wrote and wish you the best in your “kinder” approach to explaining to people that slitting somebody’s throat for no good reason is not a nice thing.

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    • sue perna

      Curiousreader~We are slowly losing our newspapers to the internet. While it is painful for me EVERY animal killing season to see men, women, children smiling with dead deer, bear, turkeys…I chose to, like you said, not look and not read about these “hobbies” but I continue to subscribe in order to support our newspaper in order to do my part to keep these folks in business.
      Saying these killings are “traditions” is like saying we are too dumb to listen to doctors who say eating meat is bad for you, that it causes cancer. Calling the total disregard of the animals suffering in factory farms, slaughterhouses and at back yard kill parties is to say we don’t understand biology. That we are too dull witted to understand that we too are animals, as are our dogs and cats, we ALL have feelings so, if we KNOW we are hurting somebody, why do it? I just don’t get the not caring part, never will I guess.

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      • 1stAmendment

        @Sue- you do realize this is an article about past history don’t you? This is what Howell writes – about bygone days.

        You seem to think this is referring to here and now. Believe me, neither Smithfield nor Gwaltney have the time or desire to do this. If your grandfather grew up in the country rather than the city – pretty sure this is how he got his bacon for breakfast.

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