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This Little Piggy Went to Sanctuary

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
July 12, 1999


I had actually planned to do a column on the fair until I heard the theme was the California gold rush, which bothered me to no end. Not only is the rush for gold still taking place in the form of Legoland and Manchester resorts, it seemed absurd that such an unsavory era of our nation's history could be trivialized in such a way. Three things stand out when I think of the California gold rush; greed, racism, and environmental destruction.

In the past I would go to the fair and spend a great deal of time in the livestock barns talking to the animals and their owners, trying to make sense of why animals destined for slaughter are seen as family entertainment. Being a vegan, and a Virgo, I was like an I-5 motorist who feels compelled to slow down to see the freeway fatality. This year, if you will pardon the pun, I went cold turkey and boycotted the fair.

My mother always told me that if you can't say something nice, say nothing. With this in mind I had decided to let the Del Mar Fair pass without me commenting on the velvet vice of 4-H clubs, or the cheesiness of the fair in general. Fortunately the kindness of one woman has changed my plans.

This column is a rose inside a rose. When I saw the North County Times local section headline that read, "Rotary saves pig from slaughter," my first thought was, that as a culture, we are beginning to shift away from the cruelty in which this nation was formed. Granted only one pig was saved from becoming tomorrow's B.L.T, but hey you have got to start somewhere. The fact that NCT viewed this random act of kindness as news tells

Obviously the true hero of this story is the Encinitas Rotary Club's newly elected President, Rose Nemeth. The porcine prisoner granted a stay of execution was Rosie Duroc, a 206-pound member of the Olivenhain community. Rosie has landed in pig heaven, and will spend the rest of her life at the Purple Cow and Friends animal sanctuary in Valley Center, instead of being cut into pieces and auction to Rotary members.

Rotary Clubs do a great deal to benefit the human members of our community, I applaud the efforts of Rose Nemeth and the Encinitas Rotary to broaden the scope of their benevolence. It is my humble opinion that the Rotary club should be commended for getting out of the animal slaughter business, I have even gone so far as to suggest that Encinitas Mayor Sheila Cameron officially recognize this act of compassion. Perhaps this will mark a new tradition that will carry over into our other dealings with species we share this planet with, such as habitat preservation and medical research.

I realize that animals can't shop, vote, or contribute to the next campaign, but this does not mean they have no value other than their use to humans. The Land Ethic, Aldo Leopold's philosophy, "changes the role of Homo-sapiens from conquer of the land community to plain member and citizen of it." Not surprisingly, the writings of Leopold are a foundation of America's growing Deep Ecology movement. By recognizing one pig's right to life, this group of civically minded citizens have personified the promise of Deep Ecology.

On behalf of Rosie, thank you Encinitas Rotary Club for your care and compassion.

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