On the farm there is no way around death. As much as we try and keep our animals healthy, sometimes we lose them. While its never easy, we forget that some of our friends from the city have not experienced this and it can be a difficult reality. We were reminded of that today.
Our girls, Wilma and Flowers, farrowed a few days ago. They both had small litters and the piglets were small. By the time we went to castrate on day 3, only 5 piglets had survived out of both litters (we are working with our vet to diagnose what happened and develop a prevention plan). Anyway, back to Rudy.
We separated the boys to castrate them and had some visitors here to help. Their job was to hold piglets far away from mama so they can be kept separate from the girls. Our visitors were having a great time holding the piglets and snuggling them. The last one was named Rudy by my mom. We noticed that Rudy had an injury on his leg. It was a major injury and was unlikely to heal. The most humane thing to do was to euthanize little Rudy.
For us it was an easy decision. This piglet was suffering and that needed to end. For our visitors it was not that easy. They wanted us to call a vet, have surgery performed, amputate the injured leg, take it to Iowa State Vet Med...anything but euthanize little Rudy. In the end we euthanized Rudy. There were tears and strong emotions.
Experiences like this reaffirm for us the responsibility we have to care for these animals. You see, meat doesn't just "show up" at the store. It comes from living beings. Since we have become more of an active participant in our food, we have found much more value in it. RIP Rudy.