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A letter from a reader about Not mocking a fellow creature

August 10, 2006

Home just a couple of days from my 25th reunion, feeling warm and fuzzy about Princeton, I pulled the latest PAW from the mail and began flipping through it right away. I had not read a word when I was brought up short in horror by the photo of a member of the Class of ’08 making a fake kiss at the charred mouth of a pig that had been roasted in public for a Princeton Southern Society meal.

This pig was once an intelligent, social, conscious creature who had an emotional and very real life. Our hearts tell us this, yes, but science does, too. If individuals choose to eat pigs (or other farm animals), it seems to me that reverence, not mockery, is the appropriate attitude to take toward a fellow creature, especially a powerless and vulnerable one, whose life has been taken so that a human may eat and thrive.

This particular pig apparently came from an Italian meat market, so its life may not have been as horrific as that of the typical American pig. If the pig was born in the United States, chances are likely that this pig lived in torment inside an enclosed hog barn, in a confined area too small to turn around, driven to neurotic behaviors through boredom, pain, and despair. This is how most pigs are raised in the U.S. today.

Regardless of this particular pig’s life history, making fun of the suffering and death of an innocent creature should be beneath us as educated citizens of the world – no matter what cultural background we celebrate. I hope that some day such a picture will be considered unpublishable, rather than cause for celebration in our alumni magazine.

I strongly recommend that readers interested in our food supply, environment, and the impact of factory farming read Eric Schlosser ’81’s important book, Fast Food Nation.


Arlington, Mass.   

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