Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This Little Piggy Didn't Go To Market. He's Dead.

I think I may have to change my route to work. It's a bunch of crap. Literally. The hog farm on the west side is getting the better of me. Don't know about hog farms? Don't move to central southern Illinois, or you just might find out.

Understand that hog crap is fragrant enough on its own. My ex-husband's father hauled hogs. It was a terrible stench. I rode along once. Quoth the raven; once, never more.

During a short period of time when we lived with his father and step-mother (a period of time akin to being in hell), my ex would go with his dad sometimes for extra cash and come home late at night, too tired to take a shower. And then he'd crawl into a twin size bed with me. They had no air in the house and we slept upstairs. His brother's dog held a flea circus in our bedroom nightly and my ankles were covered with bites.

Satan, if you're looking for ideas for a new Infernal Hell Room #whatever, here you go:
  • You're in a room with your ex for eternity
  • You're in a room with your now divorced ex in-laws for eternity
  • You're constantly bitten by fleas
  • It's hotter than - well... here
  • It stinks like hog crap that will curl your nose hairs

Brilliant idea, I think. But I digress...

I travel this hog farm road nearly every day. I have two sets of current family that direction and I do some part-time work in that direction. It would be out of my way to go the way of the flowery road which hath no smell, you see. I can usually endure the brief time of holding my breath or simply inhaling the horrible stink in the interest of saving time and gas money. However, lately there has been a development making me think of changing my route.

Dead pigs.

I travel the road at a different time than I used to due to a schedule change. One day, I noticed something different. There was something pink at one of the doors of the hog building. It was - gasp - a dead pig. What on earth happened, I wondered? Then I saw that there was not just one pig, but many placed outside various doors to the hog housing units. I wondered if there was a plague. Perhaps some terrible pig illness was wiping out the pigs! It's hogmageddon!

I dismissed it, but my curiosity was rekindled when I noticed that there were dead pigs many days thereafter. Wait, this meant it was normal. My new schedule must take me by the hog farm when the dead pigs come out. That sounds like a great novel, "When The Dead Pigs Come Out," by Cindy Brown. I shudder at the thought that this is the book I'll be famous for...

My horror had turned to understanding in that light bulb moment. We run a very small farm here and we always lose a certain percentage of what we raise. No matter if it's chickens, dogs, sheep, etc., the strong survive and some inevitably die. It is expected. So on a farm with hogs by the thousands, I should expect a few dead ones, but out where traffic can so easily see it?

"Traffic" is not a very accurate term for the amount of cars likely passing that hog farm. It's rarely traveled by most. It's stinky, bumpy, rocky, and you have to have moves like Andretti to avoid the potholes. But I, oh yes, I... I take the road less traveled and that is how I gain all of my wisdom in life, friends. Well, not ALL of it, but you get my drift.

I thought back to the documentary I recently watched about people trying to go Vegetarian/Vegan and I recalled that they went by a random hog farm and found dead hogs outside with flies buzzing around their exciting find. The people were horrified. I was horrified as well when I watched that documentary. Now, I'd found new perspective.

If you have a farm with X amount of pigs and X percentage of the pigs expire on a weekly basis, you must get rid of the dead bodies somehow, it stands to reason. I'm still curious as to what they do with them, but I'm a little too nervous to stop and ask. They do get rid of dead bodies, after all. One can never be too careful when asking too many questions of a stranger who regularly disposes of dead bodies, I think.

Their process is likely a lawful one. They are never left out for long periods of time. And yet, I'm sure flies are instantly attracted to such a feast as dead pig carcass. And if you happen by during the time they are "out," you just get an eye full. Oh, and the thing which is making me consider changing my route... a nose full.

Dead anything stinks. But multiple dead pigs mixed with live hog crap... well, that just adds a whole new dimension to the word "EWWWW!" You either call on your higher power, "Oh, Lord God Almighty!" or you curse when you smell it, one of the two. Sometimes, the two get combined. It's practically an automatic reaction and I think if researchers were to take the time to study it, they'd find that response to be involuntary in the majority of test subjects.

Ah, another episode of life in the country. My new query to you, friends, is this:

Where do the dead pigs go?

Is there an incinerator, a virtual Hogocaust at Porkwitz somewhere that I am not aware of? Do they bury them in mass graves? Are they made into food to feed to other pigs Soylent Green style?

If you have a theory (especially a funny one), I'd love to hear it.


  1. We've had several pig related controversies in our town. That's what happens when former farmlands become housing developments. They do stink like nothing else. Did you read the story about the pigs in China? It was on CNN I think. A farmer dumped something like 6000 dead pigs in a river. Can't even imagine that aroma. They usually die from heat. As to how they are disposed of...http://www.thepigsite.com/pighealth/article/50/disposal-of-dead-pigs

  2. This is what my grandpa used to call fresh country air. *grin*
    I'm not sure about your neck of the woods, but we have a lovely rendering plant. And the smell? Even better than the hogs!

  3. Wonder if they sell the dead hogs to a processing plant and have them turned into animal feed? Doubt they could sell them to grocery stores - that's be 10 kinds of wrong. Maybe they just have a big 'hogfill' out back. Imagine uncovering that in 500 years?

    We're chock full of dairy farms around here and that's a pretty ripe smell. But I do remember mucking out my uncles pig barn one time and I gotta say - pig poo is the worst!

  4. Funny, before that route, I never pondered where dead pigs go. I'm hoping a hog farmer will enlighten me (and by proxy, my readership).

  5. Oh my Gawd, Chris Dean, you finally figured out how to get a comment to work on my blog!!!!!!! I'm beyond thrilled :0) Oh, and yes, I neglected to put in my post that my ex-father-in-law always said, "Smells like money!" when we would complain about the stink.

  6. It is the same here in Illinois, Rhonda! It's pretty disgusting, but we do love our veggies and our bacon, so I suppose there is a price to pay for good eats!

  7. It was exposed to the outdoors? Eeks! Now that is truly horrifying. Guess I'm lucky they don't have one of those here.

  8. Yeah, Chris has been a loyal follower and true online friend to me, but can't seem to get commenting to work on my site, so she usually just comments on my FB page instead. I was so thrilled to see her comment here! Lynne, your comment went into my spam folder (I just found it) because of the link. I have terrible problems with anonymous comments and spam with links, so I had to put some automatic rules in place. Still, for some reason, I didn't get notification on my last couple of comments, so pooey on that! I'm ten days behind on getting back to everyone. Sheesh.

  9. Wow, I had not seen that story about the pigs in China! Gross! And thank you for the link to disposal of dead pigs. LOL, Lynne, you are full of great information and a are a great commenter as well! I will have to look now and see if I can spot a decomposition box on the site. Last week, they dropped or forgot a small little piggy outside the door and it was there for a couple of days. I guess there must not be activity there every single day. Some days, there are semis and trucks all around and other times it will look deserted for days on end. Perhaps it's a holding facility of some kind. Piggy prison, ha ha, or a halfway house for wayward pigs with behavior problems and they shoot the ones who try to escape. Oh, funny...

  10. Do dead pigs go to Hog Heaven? And where exactly is Hog Heaven? One hears about the place a lot. And do they go "whole hog?" What exactly does that even mean? Poor piggies.

  11. Why yes, all hogs go to heaven! Wait, that was dogs, wasn't it? Hee hee.

  12. I now have a new version of "This Little Piggie" to share with my children. I may be raising a bunch of vegans after bedtime tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

  13. I have heard that there was actually some sort of virus or something killing pigs recently. I haven't seen any dead ones in weeks now, so that makes me happy! All the comments from those who live near processing plants are more disturbing - seeing parts on a conveyor belt? EEEK!

  14. I visited a farm and they told us the bury the dead animals because it's good fertilizer. Yuck!

  15. It's not a particularly funny theory. But the CSI people have to have corpses to train on, and pigs and humans decompose pretty much at the same rate. So sometimes they bury them in a swamp, say, and examine them at one week in, two weeks in, three weeks in, etc., making notes all the while as to weather conditions, if they were exposed or in a trash bag, if they were in a partially torn trash bag...

    And with that note, I must make dinner.

  16. Kelly, I'll stick to Miracle Grow.

  17. For real? Wow, I learn something new every day.