Hog heaven

Preaching to swine farmers
As we hurtled toward Shakespeare, Ontario, I felt a familiar cold visceral tightness and fear. “Shakespeare,” I brooded. “I hope the name isn’t an omen. ‘Shakespeare’ suggests tragedy. Or worse, comedy.”

I was scheduled to give a keynote speech on ethics and animal welfare to the swine producers of Ontario. Tim Blackwell, the chief swine veterinarian for Ontario, had asked me to speak, and I could not say no to him. Not only was he the editor of my ethics column in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, a magazine that he had built into a stunning success. He was a tireless fighter for animal well-being. Fifteen years earlier he had led a large campaign to produce “humane” pork. He was also a cherished friend and, at six-foot-six, a charismatic and benign Cuchulain.

 

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