BOOK REVIEW: A Day No Pigs Would Die

A Day No Pigs Would Die

This was a quiet, thoughtful YA novel about a Shaker farming family, told from the point of view of a twelve-year-old boy, Rob. Expect a gamut of emotions in this one. There is genuine humor in young Rob’s observations of life around him. However, the main plotline of the story is a tragic one. Rob lovingly raises and cares for a pet pig named Pinky. Although he had hoped to stave off Pinky’s execution by keeping her as a breeding sow, he later determines Pinky cannot breed. Rob’s is a poor household. His father slaughters pigs for a living. It’s not difficult to guess what will be the outcome of this situation.

Reading this book from a vegetarian perspective was an interesting exercise. There were myriad tragedies of the livestock system: Pinky’s misery because she has the misfortune to be born a “food animal.” Rob’s anguish over losing a dear friend in the worst possible way. The stoic suffering of Rob’s father, who works an odious and spirit-crushing job because he has no other options, much like today’s slaughter workers.

There is a lot of talk presently about “happy meat” and idealization of “the old way” of raising and killing animals for food. And while it may be an improvement over modern factory methods, those who cheerfully tear into their “happy meat” need to remember that even the most traditional form of animal slaughter relies on the deepest form of betrayal of trust. And “the old way” may have been one of deeper connection to the land, but it was also one in which dogs and weasels were coerced into combat in sealed barrels, as one heart-rending scene illustrates for us.

This book may help strengthen the resolve and commitment for those of us who truly hope for a day no pigs will die.

(review originally appeared at

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Akilah Laurito
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 13:07:43

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