December 2008: Pig Revolt

A further meeting of the Bah Humbug club took place last week. Naturally, as the dreaded Christmas season gets underway, these meetings are getting more regular and, indeed, are attracting more passionate pleadings from the members. The old hands amongst us try to calm the freshmen, soothing their fear of the forthcoming festive frolics with utterings such as; ‘don’t panic. It’ll all be over soon’ and ‘never fear, Santa doesn’t really exist.’

After we settled everybody down, we got to the real business at hand. Huddled around the meagre fire (no Yule-fuelled extravagance for us, you know), we discussed the first item on the agenda. It was the recent Wexford pig revolution. So successful ahs it been, that man ahs panicked into offering a reprieve from death to every pig in the country in an effort to make peace.

The timing of this latest revolt is no coincidence, of course. Most members of the BHC recalled that this time last year, one hundred and fifty pigs made a similar strike for freedom. This was the time that they escaped from a lorry outside Sligo town, a vehicle that was transporting them to the dreaded death camps in Rooskey.

This was a marvellous time to be a pig as they cavorted around the countryside, causing havoc for traffic and police who tried to negotiate with them to return to their normal, but doomed, lifestyles. Boy, did they make the headlines. So much so, that they feathered cousins, the chickens tried the same thing, with as much success,  a few months later.
Then there was Butch and Sundance, two Tamworth pigs who led their would-be executioners a merry dance around the English countryside for a whole week back in 1998. They finally surrendered when promised a reprieve from death. We wondered what had become of them in the end. Did they really live out their days in peace with their owners? Or did they end up as fodder for Gordon Ramsay’s knives?

Banishing this depressing thought from our minds (although, if I may say so, most members of the Bah Humbug club thrive of depressing thoughts), a vote of support for the latest pigs’ stance against the Christmas slaughter was passed unanimously. One speaker got fairly animated about pigs, keeping himself warm at the same time by jumping up and down. ‘It is a heart-warming thing to see how the pigs have revolted against being forced to become Christmas hams.’ he said.

‘There is no worse sight than seeing them sliced to bits, to lie alongside their two-legged turkey friends on a plate on Christmas day, only to be poked at, half chewed and then dumped out the next day, along with the uneaten, cold brussels sprouts.

‘I have nothing but admiration for the pigs. Their sabotage job on the oil in the feedstuff machinery was a brilliant bit of engineering. They have saved so many pigs from the unnecessary and wasteful killing that takes place at this time of the year. I hope that the turkeys will take a leaf out of their book and revolt in the same way.’

As he sat down to a chorus of ‘hear, hear’, a meek voice was heard. ‘But what about my breakfast roll? I miss it.’ There was silence. Then, our president spoke up in a levelled, but authoritative voice.

‘There will be no need for breakfast rolls in the new year, my good friend. After all, Breakfast Roll Man, the invention of the construction industry, is now extinct. He has evolved into Recession Man and the only breakfast he needs, or can afford, these days is a boiled egg and a bit of dry toast, if he’s lucky. And there’s no suffering for any animal in the making of that, my friend.’

As he sat down, there was a polite clap. For myself, if I was honest, I missed the smell of bacon and sausages frying and, looking around the room, I could see other Bah Humbuggers were feeling the same. Nevertheless, we had to make sacrifices in this world, especially around Christmas time. The main thing was that the Christmas ham would not be making an appearance on the table this year and this was another small triumph for the club.

The proposal was made that we should mark the success of the 2008 Pig Revolt in some way. Various ways of doing this were discussed. One man proposed that we march a pig down the main street of the town with a few of us following behind carrying signs, such as ‘Free All Pigs’ and ‘Long Live the Bacon Bringers’.

Another man suggested that we invite some old boar to give a speech at our next meeting but a wag at the back commented that it might be a ‘bit boring’ to have to listen to snorting and snuffling all evening. That brought a rare smile to the faces of the Bah Humbuggers.

Finally, it was decided that the most appropriate way of marking the occasion would be to do a reading from George Orwell’s book, ‘Animal Farm’. This will take place next week at the Bah Humbug Club’s usual venue. You are all invited, of course.

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