Thursday, February 28, 2008

Welcome to PigAd Blog

Hi. Click on the ad for a bigger version.

If you've found this blog after reading an ad on the streets of Sydney then thanks for making it this far. Well done remembering the address.

If you've stumbled in here or followed a link then have look at the ad and the rest of the blog will make more sense.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

This blog aims to do two things. Explain how the ad came to be and provide further information on factory farming of pigs in Australia.

There are some other posts on here which talk about pigs and factory farming. Look for them in the right hand column. Or click here (how smart are pigs?) or here (factory farming films).

For the story on how I won the ad click here (I won ad space...).

For the short story read this:

I won the ad space as part of an advertising course. The prize was 100 poster sites to use anywhere in Australia.

I chose Sydney because most pig factory farms are in NSW. Pigs are kept in terrible conditions in factory farms. Because they are factories, the animal's welfare is only given consideration where it leads to more profit.

The result is that pigs are kept in cages too small to turn around in.

You and I can change this by choosing free-range pork, asking for free-range pork or giving up eating pork altogether.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Factory Farming Films

Animals Australia have posted several videos to the web demonstrating the plight of factory farmed animals. This one deals specifically with pregnant female pigs:

This one is about factory farming in general and is narrated by the front man for Aussie band Kisschasy, Darren Cordeux.

This excellent film from the US details the human as well as animal cost of factory farming as well as providing some thought provoking information on pigs themselves.

The Pig Picture (Part One)

The Pig Picture (Part Two)

Here's an animated series which explains some of the politics and motives behind factory farming, based on the Matrix series.

Part One.

Part two.

Part two and a half.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just how smart are pigs?

You may have had someone tell you pigs are pretty smart animals. If not, you could be surprised to learn that some think their intelligence rivals that of dogs. In any case, what follows is an interesting link and a video showing a pig in action.

Let's start with the video. This pig is called Mudslinger and you'll hear the trainer saying it's less than a year old. It'd be fairly amazing to see a child of 12 months doing what this animal does, let alone a baby pig.

Penn State University conducted research between 1996 and 1998. They showed that pigs can be taught to maneuver a modified joystick to move a cursor on a video monitor.

For rewards of M&M's, Skittles or Reese's Pieces, the pigs moved the cursor over to a target, then used the cursor to distinguish among scribbles drawn by the researcher's grandchild.

The pigs were shown one scribble, then a few seconds later shown the same scribble along with a second. They used the joystick and cursor to distinguish between the scribble they had seen before and the one they were seeing for the first time.

The pigs learned these tasks within 5 to 10 attempts, "very quickly, as quickly as chimpanzees", said researcher Stanley Curtis, then professor of dairy and animal science and now an adjunct animal sciences professor at the University of Illinois.

For more on this research, click here.

But are pigs smarter than dogs?

Both pigs and dogs are quite smart, says Brenda Coe, adjunct assistant professor of animal science, who helped Curtis in the initial stages of his work and also teaches dog behavior in a canine management class. But "intelligence" in animals is typically defined in a limited way, as the ability to learn what people try to teach them.

The point of discussing pig intelligence is that when you consider that the animal which can distinguish between drawings or learn to push a soccer ball into a goal on command is no different from the one trapped in hellish circumstances in factory farms you're left with an inescapable conclusion: The pigs are smart enough to think, suffer and feel miserable.

We eat factory farmed pork without realising what it truly equates to. The life-long suffering of intelligent, gentle animals.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Massive US meat recall due to mistreatment of animals

Health authorities in the US are conducting a massive recall of beef products in the US due to findings which suggest mistreatment of the animals. The recall represents enough beef to feed every person living in the US two hamburger patties.

Read more here: Beef Recall

Hopefully, this kind of action sends a message to meat industries world-wide. The US is not renowned for adhering to the strictest of standards in animal welfare. If a nation like this is willing to take an action of this kind it demonstrates to meat industries everywhere, including Australia, that there is a real cost in failing to meet minimum standards.

The pork industry in Australia has grown rapidly over the last decade in terms of production capacity. It has done so at the cost of both animal welfare and employment levels. By turning farms into factories you reduce the workforce and mechanise the treatment of living creatures to the point where they are ultimately treated like little more than components in the very machine they inhabit for their miserable lives.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I won ad space in a competition - It wasn't big enough.

Hi. My name is Luke Fox.

At the moment, this is the first post in a blog which will support an ad which will appear on the streets of Sydney, in Australia, from March 3rd, on bus shelters.

The ad is about pigs in factory farms, and how you can help them live better lives. However, until it's on the streets I won't go into too much detail.

The title of this post is similar to the ad's headline.

I'm a copywriter and I work with Mo Shono, an art director, at an advertising agency called Loud.

In 2006 I completed a course called AWARD School. This is a course run by a non profit organisation called AWARD (Australian Writers and Art Directors Association).

The course is designed to both teach people interested in working as an advertising creative about the work and offer an opportunity to meet people already working in the industry. Numerous advertising luminaries volunteer their time to tutor, lecture and administrate the course. This is largely because most of them have at one time or another taken the course themselves and feel a sense of satisfaction from doing so. Also, there's a fair bit of prestige attached to being asked to be involved, particularly as a lecturer.

The course is competitive. Students attend a weekly tutorial and lecture. They get a brief a week and must come up advertising ideas to present to their tutors who are themselves working creatives. The tutorials are held in agencies around the country.

The top ten students carry on to do another part of the course sometimes called Supergroup, sometimes Supercraft. In any case, it's an extension of the course.

There's normally a competitive brief offered as part of Supercraft. Sometimes there's a prize.

When I did it, the sponsor, Adshel offered the prize. This was the prize that I won which has allowed me to create the ad for which this blog is created.