Thursday, February 15, 2007

I don't think I will like this

I got a call from the Ct Dept of AG last thursday, they wanted to come and blood test our pigs on tuesday.

I called back both numbers that I was given and left messages telling them that I work full time for the PO and needed more time and information as I did not know exactly what the procedure was.

They came on Tuesday while I was at work and left a message in between our front doors.

I called them back Wednesday moring and had quite a chat with the man who will do the testing. First the pigs have to be confined in an area as they don't have time to chase pigs. Very understandable but I don't have anything like that except our cattle pinch chute. That COULD be made to work if I buy and install three steel gates. Actually he was suggesting I build a 20 X 20 area. I told him about us getting the grant and how much work I have to do this spring to comply with the grant plus the normal spring chores.

I fully realize this has to be done, every year he says. I have had these pigs for 3 years and this is the first I have heard of it.... seems strange especially since we are now Certified Humane. Perhaps it is because of the extra attention we have received that brought it to mind...who knows.

The worst part of what he told me was that the pigs (only the breeders) have to be restrained with a snout snare which causes them much distress, a needle is inserted in their neck and blood drawn. I reminded him that we are the ONLY Certified Humane farm in the state and that I did NOT like the sounds of what they have to do. and I asked if there was any other way -- he said no (I LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE TELL ME NO) so now it looks like I will have to be ready to do this in May (he was nice enough to give me plenty of time) and once I have seen this process first-hand I can then decide if I like it, if it is Humane, and if I can get a SARE grant to develop a better way.

My biggest concern is that my pigs trust me and all of my family; the Ag guy says it is not a big deal and they do people's pet pigs this way. Now I know pigs are REALLY smart and they can figure out who not to trust really quick -- I do not want to have them think they can't trust me.

Time will tell, perhaps and I hope I am over reacting, it will be okay, but I have never seen it done, don't know what to expect, and sure don't like the sounds of it.




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