Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

Dec

12

Duncan’s decided to stay

Posted in: Animals3 Comments

Duncan’s dad came home recently from a trip to the Northern Territory.  Duncan came to stay with us because there are not many places where you can board a 180kg pig.
As you may remember Duncan’s life has been punctuated by a series of ‘fortunate’ incidents. He somehow managed to escape from wherever he was born and was found wandering in the bush near Kurrajong Heights as a piglet. He was then given to Ian who decided to fatten him up for last year’s Christmas dinner. But Ian discovered that Duncan’s friendship was far more valuable than his flesh, so Christmas came and went and Duncan remained. Duncan doted on Ian, much like a dog and became depressed whenever he was left alone. He lived a charmed life becoming a very spoilt only pig. But (to cut a long story short), Ian and his wife had been planning a long trip and had begun to fret about what to do with Duncan knowing that he didn’t even like being left for a few hours. So Ian asked me could he come and stay at our place with my two pigs Patch and Simon. On our first meeting Ian expressed concern about Duncan’s loneliness and we decided to leave the arrangement open so that if he was happy, he could stay on. 

Well Ian rang me recently to tell me he was back and ask about Duncan. I told him, he was fine and happy and had settled really well. He wasn’t sure whether he should come and visit him as he didn’t want to upset him but I told him to come over. When he arrived and walked into the paddock, Duncan was sleeping (soundly) under a tree with his little brothers. Ian called him a few times and Duncan awoke. He stood up and shook his head and then began to run. However pigs are very short sighted and unless the wind is blowing in the right direction, they have trouble locating you at a distance. He ran for a few metres then stopped and reassessed the situation, changed his course slightly and then ran again. This happened a few times, Duncan gradually getting closer and closer, all the while his huge ears flapping merrily in the breeze. Finally, as he got close he started to grunt, not a usual grunt but a strange huffing noise that pigs do when they are excited and happy (pigs make an incredible array of sounds and vocalisations). As you can imagine, the reunion was very joyous on both accounts. Two old friends, glad to see each other and glad that the other one was okay.  It was a special moment for me too even as a bystander. 

But what was interesting was the fact that after a while as we stood talking, Duncan moved off, following Patch and Simon. Ian and I knew there and then that he wanted to stay. If he had been traumatised by Ian’s reappearance he wouldn’t have left his side, worried that he would be left again. 

Taking it easy
Taking it easy

Ian and I started to unload a huge bale of straw that he had brought with him which of course sparked their curiosity. It was very funny to watch the three pigs nosing and generally running amok through the straw as we pitchforked it into their pen. But it was a stinking hot day and even the fresh straw was not enough incentive to keep them there and they soon retired to the comfort and shade of the pine trees. After about an hour Ian went to say goodbye to Duncan (and I’m sure told him that he would be back to visit). After Ian left, I was touched by the fact that Duncan went and laid in the straw of his pen, despite the heat. I knew the reason for this, it was because Ian had brought the straw and Duncan was showing his gratitude. It was interesting that Patch and Simon did not follow him in there, despite the fact that I had also helped to unload the straw but then they had never been separated from me, or had never mourned or missed me. For Duncan it was a connection and he displayed a symbolic gesture.

But he did not appear melancholic and he continued to be his usual cheery self. He is always the first to greet me when I walk past their paddock (if he is awake) and always first to give the piggy ‘high five’. All of my pigs love to do a special greeting when they see me. I hold my palm out flat to them and they push their snout into it. Pigs are one of the friendliest creatures I have ever met. They also listen intently to everything you say. However there is one thing that Duncan does which I do find a bit alarming… he likes to rub his head on you. To give you some idea of why I find this so alarming I will take you back to the day Duncan first arrived. He walked out of the float, around to the front of my 4 wheel drive and proceeded to rub his head on the wheel. The entire car rocked back and forth like it was made of paper – all 2.8 tonnes of it. So I always make sure I am standing to the side of Duncan just behind his head. 

As attached as Duncan is to Ian, I had to laugh when, about a week after their reunion, he arrived with a ‘special treat’ for the pigs – a pot of cooked cauliflower. The problem was that I had just given them a bucket of ‘old’ cherries (courtesy of the fruit stall up the road). Ian emptied the pot next to the cherries and the pigs wandered over to have a look but quickly retreated to the fruit. You could see their minds ticking over – cherries…cauliflower… no contest really. Not even a symbolic gesture from Duncan on this occasion but could you blame him? 

Duncan is a treasure and I am glad he is staying. Mind you I would be just as happy if he wanted to go home with Ian. As long as he is happy, I am happy but I love the fact that he now has his own kind for company and how well they all get on. The three have different relationships, just like three different people would. 

Duncan is a constant reminder of how we should be grateful for the blessings we have in life. For Duncan, the blessing is life itself. It is almost as if he knows that he is lucky to still be alive and is determined to make the most of it. Why Duncan was spared from slaughter or life in a factory farm when nearly all pigs are condemned to such a fate, will always remain a mystery. I suspect that it was not just a case of chance or good luck but rather a stroke of fate so that he may help people understand more about his kind. So I will continue to tell Duncan’s story. How he enjoys sunny days when he can stretch out and soak up the sun’s warming rays and rainy days when he can stay in bed. How he loves company and likes to play. How he loves his food and wallowing in the mud. But most of all how he just loves to be …free. 

Duncan and his friend

Duncan and his friend

This year has seen Animals Australia, joined by a host of other animal groups including Edgars Mission, heighten their campaigns for the the factory farming of pigs to be banned. Their initiative “Pardon a Pig this Christmas” has the support of thousands of Australians, many of whom have never thought twice about pigs before or known the atrocious conditions in which they are forced to live. Rumour even has it that pork sales are down. Lets hope this is the start of a new era, one where the Christmas message of peace and goodwill is extended not only to the wonderful, charismatic and intelligent pig but all of God’s creatures who share this world.

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  1. Patricia Boyle said on 31/12/2011 at 5:08 am

    Ian & his wife have just left here to on their way home from the coast where they had Xmas. We talked about Duncan & how happy he is. Thank you, thank you for spreading the word about how special pigs and all other animals are.

  2. tom boyle said on 31/12/2011 at 5:09 am

    my brother in law ian muir just visited us and although we knew briefly the story of duncan he showed us the website and we have just read your story.

    thank you for writing it and spreading the liberation of animals gospel.

    i became a vegetarian many years ago after visiting an abbatoir in bourke. their is no such thing as the humane slaughter of animals.they all die in catastophic fear. the benefits of meat to humans is also a marketing scam of the highest order.

    i work with free the bears and have worked in a bear sanctuary in cambodia and after coming back from there wrote a song about the bears called ”unlock the cage of darkness” which can apply to all animals and humans whose rights and lives are subjugated to the horrors of the
    inverted intelligence of man.

    keep up the great work and the campaign to free animals as they have a right to life on planet earth too.

    best regards for 2012, tom boyle.

  3. Diana said on 02/01/2012 at 12:02 pm

    How lovely to hear from you Tom and Patricia. My apologies for not approving your comments earlier but have been away. Thankyou for your kind words and support and thank you Ian for spreading the word about the blog. There are many compassionate people in this world and although at the moment we are somewhat outnumbered I believe that together we can change that. But we need to communicate and use as many mediums as we possibly can to effect that change. As you mentioned Tom music is a great tool. I would love to hear your song, maybe you can send it to me and I can put it up on the blog. All the best for the new year to you both and I hope you stay in touch. It is lovely to meet Duncan’s extended family!

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