12 Jan2009


PETA members need to skip this post. After taking photographs of all the veggies at the Mantalongon trading center, I stepped out of the area and headed over to the daily market building and spied these piggies for sale out of the corner of my eye. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised that the pigs were still alive, bound and packaged in banana trunk in a manner I have never seen before. Apparently it is easier to transport the pigs from their “homes” in the mountainous region around Mantalongon, so vendors tie them up so it is more convenient to carry them… I am a carnivore, so I understand that these pigs will be killed and eaten, but I must say the sight was an unusual one for me.


The piglets were immobilized and not struggling it seemed, but I personally wouldn’t be thrilled with literally being hog-tied and upside down. This is apparently a common practice in those parts and others have mentioned seeing this exact same set up when purchasing pigs in the area. From afar, it looks like the pigs have been slaughtered and cleaned, ready for a roasting pit. I took these photos and quickly headed off to another part of the market…




  1. rose says:

    Hi MM! I am a carnivore too… but, seeing them like this… i won’t be able to eat meat for the next few days.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 10:50 am


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  3. toping says:

    The things I learn from your blog… :-)

    Is there something about that “position” that seems to calm the pigs down? Or maybe they’re just enjoying the coolness of the banana trunk?

    Jan 12, 2009 | 10:51 am

  4. rose says:

    Hi MM! i am a carnivore too. But , seeing them like this….i have to abstain from meat for awhile..

    Jan 12, 2009 | 10:51 am

  5. AleXena says:

    Poor little piggies=(

    I’m a carnivore in a way too but I try to not look at such pictures for a longer time frame since it may make me want to not eat meat. At first I thought they were dead too.

    Then again I saw how cows, goats, pigs, chickens and even fish being killed or slaughtered in person and it didn’t made me stop eating meat, guess it is the frame of mind each person has.

    Although I might do what you did and hurriedly go to another place.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 11:01 am

  6. Beth says:

    I don’t usually care what happens to something that’s going to be eaten but I gotta say I feel a little bad for the poor piggies. I wonder what they did to immobilize them.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 11:18 am

  7. dina says:

    oh no :( poor piggies

    Jan 12, 2009 | 11:26 am

  8. Cecilia MQ says:

    Poor little piggies! I rather see them already lechon than like this.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 12:12 pm

  9. z says:

    oh my. the activists are going to have a field day!
    but the vendors need to put food on their tables too, so LIVE AND LET LIVE!

    I’d rather buy my pork chopped and cleaned though ;p

    Jan 12, 2009 | 12:17 pm

  10. fortuitous faery says:

    still alive?! animal activists will definitely be outraged by these pictures. i’ve never seen them bound and “packaged” like this! i wonder if some people would consider this a “kosher” way of handling the pigs.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 12:21 pm

  11. mdg says:

    poor little piggies

    a no no for PETA!!!

    Jan 12, 2009 | 12:42 pm

  12. bubbles says:

    I’m so curious. Are the piggies really still alive or suffocated? Based on the pics, their eyes are closed. Why are they not struggling? Or, are they lazy to struggle since wala naman silang magagawa.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 1:28 pm

  13. Mikey says:

    Pigs in a blanket! Perfect for a Sunday cochinillo. The packaging is quite ingenious. Makes it easier to slaughter them.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 2:21 pm

  14. kareninyshka says:

    Oh no! I feel so bad I just lost my appetite for pork bbq… And these babes look so cute (pink, clean and seemingly asleep).. and pitiful at the same time..

    Jan 12, 2009 | 2:50 pm

  15. iris says:

    The piggies look like they know what’s coming and they look so…peaceful. Okay, I’m staying away from pork for a day or two.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 4:16 pm

  16. luna miranda says:

    oh my! i’m also a carnivore but i feel sorry for these pigs. i keep on imagining my doggie, i guess because he’s almost the same color as these pigs.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 4:20 pm

  17. maricar says:

    i like meat but i think looking at these pictures makes me pity them so much……i can imagine them crying loud. they look so cute. i know this sounds weird but thank god i am not a pig!!!!!! huhuhu!!!!!

    Jan 12, 2009 | 5:47 pm

  18. Mangaranon says:

    Forget PETA. They are barking at the wrong tree. They are so “protective” of animals while sanctioning ABORTION! Where is the sanity?

    Jan 12, 2009 | 6:04 pm

  19. Ley says:

    I love lechon and am sure these piggies would be the right age for lechon. But somehow these pictures made a tug in my heart…

    Jan 12, 2009 | 6:11 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    Uneasy is a good term. But a reality. And gives a very visual meaning to being “hog-tied”.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 6:31 pm

  21. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Honestly, I think this is more humane than being in an overcrowded pen. The pigs actually get to their final destination with hardly any bruises and stress-free.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 7:10 pm

  22. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yikes….wawa naman…

    Jan 12, 2009 | 7:36 pm

  23. Rossana says:

    Oh my gosh, that’s sheer cruelty! I eat pork & I love meat but man, you should have slapped those tinderas! Talking about KFC and how the cruelly kill chickens (in the U.S.) this by far takes the cake.
    Ugh, to think dinner tonight is pork chops. I really cried when I saw your photos.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 7:56 pm

  24. kitkathie says:

    kinda reminds of BABE the movie…I agree with Artisan Chocolatier that its more humane…rather than transporting them via truck hearing the squirmish screams from the piggies.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 8:23 pm

  25. Homebuddy says:

    This is actually a better way of transporting the piggies for the market at least they have a cushion to support them and the banana stalks keep them cool. You should see the pigs transported in these parts, tied down on “habal-habals” on the side without any support, pure agony before the slaughter if you ask me.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 8:38 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    Rosanna, now, now… Let’s not impose one’s own view of the animal treatment on folks who have been doing this for decades, and whom, I am almost certain, do not think they are being intentionally and unneccessarily cruel. As the comments here suggest, many are surprised or uneasy about it… but it does seem better than cramming them into pens one on top of another and busing them or in a truck to market. Or hog-tied and on a tricycle. If you eat any meat at all, then you should look up how beef in the U.S. is prepped for market, or how chickens are blinded in their pens before you go around blithely suggesting one must slap the tinderas around… If you eat beef in the U.S., they often dismember whole carcasses with chain saws without the cow being technically dead yet. So cruelty comes in many shades and forms. Gosh, I don’t know why I never got around to writing that post on how animals are prepped for human consumption…

    Jan 12, 2009 | 8:58 pm

  27. jun says:

    I agree this people are there to earn their living in an honest way. let’s not judge them although you can give your opinion but let’s stop short of condemning them.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 10:18 pm

  28. mikel says:

    pigs in pain i assume would scream & squeal. these piggies seem to be ok..

    Jan 12, 2009 | 10:58 pm

  29. des says:

    I LOVE ANIMALS!!!!…with ketchup.

    Jan 12, 2009 | 11:01 pm

  30. isagarch says:

    I agree it gives one an uneasy feeling but I think from the sellers stand point, this way if the pigs are not sold, they can go back up the mountain to live another day. I remember being in a small village in the province where a farmer was ready to butcher a cow but had to go around to see who would buy what as he would not kill the cow unless it was all spoken. No waste ( and no refrigeration ).

    Jan 13, 2009 | 1:21 am

  31. Maria Clara says:

    I agree with Jun, the piggy vendors have to make a sale which greatly impact their family’s economic well-being to keep them going. The porkies look like they are not in misery/distress as no sign of groaning noise from them. Looks like they have a pacifier stuck into them and napping well. The banana trunk did the work. It must be cooling the porkies well. The pictures look spooky though but I believe is a common and acceptable practice in that town.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 1:41 am

  32. Dean says:

    I used to help my dad butcher pigs for a side-business. These pigs’ condition albeit, offending to some is nothing compared to what I’ve seen. My grandma’s adage,”when I see pigs, i see adobo & lechon in my table; and not a cute pet”

    Jan 13, 2009 | 2:17 am

  33. dhayL says:

    i wonder how many individuals does it take to tie up a pig in this position? was it difficult, was there any resistance? poor piggies….

    Jan 13, 2009 | 2:29 am

  34. tnm says:

    Haaayyy! These photos distress me. I do understand that this is part of being a carnivore. Thru the years I have eaten less and less meat because of the continuous media exposure of how animals are treated before they get to my table. Although I do not expect everyone to think the same way I do, I hope that we all think about how that pig was killed before it became lechon and how that cow was slaughtered before it became a burger.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 2:58 am

  35. TPS says:

    Naawa naman ako sa piggies. Kinda strengthen my resolve to avoid pork and beef.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 6:07 am

  36. ted says:

    I think when the pigs starts to make groaning noises, they get their tummies rubbed by the vendors which would make them go back to sleep again, i’d say this is a better idea and not as cruel as you might think.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 6:27 am

  37. ted says:

    I digress, but has anyone heard of the big stink regarding banning foie gras in Chicago in 2006 and other cities or states in the US followed? MM had a topic on it also if i remember, And while the ban takes effect in CALI in 2012, Chicago just repealed it last year…So if it is really cruel, why repeal?

    Jan 13, 2009 | 6:40 am

  38. emy medina says:

    what a pathetic sight….i’m used to looking at a lechon pic…but this…it’s heartbreaking!!!!

    Jan 13, 2009 | 7:03 am

  39. consol says:

    have they been drugged or lulled to sleep and are now floating in some kind of pig nirvana? sana nga. it sucks to be at the bottom of the food chain.

    i agree with mikel: pigs in pain scream like banshees and squeal to high heavens. we used to live in an apartment where neighbors slaughtered pigs occasionally. our building looked onto their backyard where ‘the deed’ was done. we would be awakened during the early morning by blood-curdling squeals. a huge pig (or a pink piglet, pretty much like the pigs in the banana leaf blankets shown in this post) struggling madly in a vain attempt to escape. the coup de grace would be dealt, a shiver or two, then silence. all this time, a huge vat of water would be boiling, waiting … waiting.

    has anyone seen ‘meet your meat’? (or even the cartoon ‘the meatrix’ patterned after the movie ‘the matrix.’ trench coats and fashionable shade galore!) it made me stay away from meat for days. google these videos if you want.

    pigs were bashed on the head, or stunned with electric prods. they were hung upside down on hooks, then blood spewed as throats were slashed. mind you, the animals were still alive.

    cows likewise got the same treatment. chickens? beaks cut with hot wire or clippers; held by the legs then bashed against the wall.

    cruelty. i can understand marketman’s reluctance to write a post on prepping animals prior to slaughter.

    a frightening thought: what if humans were relegated to the bottom of the food chain? (*shudder*)

    then again …

    i feel like dr. jekyll struggling with mr. hyde: i have a growing sympathy for animals slaughtered for human consumption ( for health reasons, too, i have kept away from beef successfully now; however, if some products do have a small amount of beef, well i wouldn’t really know, not unless i asked or read up first), but my taste buds betray me. oh dear, barbeque, lechon, adobo, asado, hungarian sausages, pepperoni on pizza, lean farmer’s ham and über-salty chinese ham >>> get thee behind me!!

    Jan 13, 2009 | 7:08 am

  40. consol says:

    wooops… make that ‘shades’ >>>> i am red-faced here

    Jan 13, 2009 | 7:10 am

  41. Maria Clara says:

    In the US if you are summoned to a jury duty and when you answer ready on that day and sent to a courtroom and during jury voir dire and let them know you are butcher for a living they will excuse you from both sides plaintiff and defense side or prosecutor and defense!

    Jan 13, 2009 | 7:55 am

  42. natie says:

    this came to mind when i read the discussion:

    On Eating and Drinking
    Kahlil Gibran

    Would that you could live on the fragrance of the earth, and like an air plant be sustained by the light.
    But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship.
    When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,
    “By the same power that slays you, I too am slain; and I too shall be consumed.
    For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
    Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.”

    Jan 13, 2009 | 8:28 am

  43. Marketman says:

    natie… how NICE is that. Thank you. MC, I was so amused that being a butcher would get you off jury duty… consol, sometimes, in an off moment, I do think humans should be relegated to the bottom of the food chain… my favorite scene from Jurassic Park was the guy on the toilet and the raptor? plucking him out and munching on him…hahaha. ted, they repealed the ban when foie gras manufacturers demonstrated that forcefeeding wasn’t as “cruel” as everyone seems to believe. Oh, and I admire vegetarians, but really, who says plants/leaves/trees don’t have feelings? How would you like to be fresh and alive as a leaf then suddenly being gnawed on by someone’s dentures while you scream silently or unheard by less sophisticated human ears until you join the acid cauldron in someone’s stomach??? :)

    Jan 13, 2009 | 8:46 am

  44. Mimi says:

    poor piglets aside, it seems that this is the only source of income for those mountain people if they take the effort to present the piglets all uniformly bound and tied. i do pity the pigs, but also more pity the people if they have no sale for the day. i have been to several far flung areas in the philippines, and i applaud the resiliency of our kababayans who can exist on rice and salt alone because they simply do not have the money to buy anything else.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 8:49 am

  45. isagarch says:

    Hi MM. Jurassic park – velociraptors, me, I work with raptors (hawks, owls, eagles and falcons :) And I have felt the same way about vegetarians … shouldn’t they only eat say fruit or veggies that doesn’t kill the source – like pulling the whole carrot out of the ground or the entire head of lettuce, as opposed to picking an apple and the tree continues to live. Who says plants don’t have feelings? and why are animal rights activists so quick to suggest violence to humans? shouldn’t they be pacifists? Slapping tinderas indeed.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 9:52 am

  46. Marketman says:

    isagarch, there is a segment of vegetarians that only eat fruit and nuts and the like that have fallen off the tree. In the Philippines, that would mean I would weighs ome 82 pounds instead of my current 190+ for lack of things to eat… I do wonder if we would have evolved or devolved to our current state if our ancestors steadfastly chose not to eat animal protein… no meat, no fish, no fowl, etc. I do like it when seemingly inane posts provoke some thought… :)

    Jan 13, 2009 | 10:09 am

  47. chinachix says:

    disturbing photos, to say the least…made me pause and rethink my supper — pork chop — tonight.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 10:12 am

  48. Casey's Mom says:

    Disturbing indeed. I wonder if immobilizing them this way causes a slow death of suffocation because of all the weight resting on their backs and lungs. :( I’m going to have to seriously consider eating more legumes and vegetables. Swearing off meat is easy but giving up dairy products is tough.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 11:09 am

  49. joey says:

    Poor piggies! And you know I don’t say that lightly. Although uneasy feelings aside, I certainly can’t judge how these ladies transport their pigs…I am sure they are doing as best they can given circumstance and resources

    Natie, thanks for sharing that passage!

    Jan 13, 2009 | 11:23 am

  50. Shan says:

    what a sad sight..but i agree with marketman, i dont think the tinderas intend to be cruel to the piggies.. in fact, if u think about it, at least they took the effort to “individually pack” them instead of just cram them in a cage or something.. besides, thats really how the food chain works.. animals are meant to be eaten (As far as carnivores are concerned).. and really, is there a “proper” way of killing animals to be eaten? as the saying goes, the end does not justify the means.. in short, i will still eat meat… that doesnt really make u a bed person (i think) :-)

    Jan 13, 2009 | 11:23 am

  51. Edik says:

    that packaging style is actually the most humane thing for the piglets. i grew up in the mountains of bohol and i know those banana peels give them comfort although they were hogtied so to speak. less trouble for both sellers and buyers and less pain for the pigs.

    Artisan Chocolatier is right.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 11:24 am

  52. natie says:

    ..it was tought-provoking,MM, that on my drive home, that scene fron Jurassic also came to mind…those monster wouldn’t even wait a second to gobble us up—no humane packaging for us humans then…i also remember the food chain from our science class, from plankton up…

    Jan 13, 2009 | 11:41 am

  53. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Reading all your posts gives me much thought on the issue. I’ve travelled a lot but have never come upon somthing like this. Looking closely at the piggies again,they seem content. Am also thinking they might be suffocating. Amazing how people like them have thought of transporting the piggies this way. Amazing too how we all think differently about this…hahaha…this is a fun post to be in…

    Jan 13, 2009 | 6:34 pm

  54. kiko says:

    were they making a lot of noise MM?

    Jan 13, 2009 | 9:28 pm

  55. chrisb says:

    MM, are those who eat only fruits that have fallen off the tree called fruitarians, or are they something else entirely? Somehow, eating that way reminds me of the image of Juan Tamad waiting under a tree, mouth agape, for a fruit to fall. Haha! There’s less to eat but there’s so much less effort as well. If our ancestors ate that way, we’d have evolved to have the metabolism, and speed, of tree sloths. But even they do actively pick their food.

    Jan 13, 2009 | 11:51 pm

  56. Maki says:

    very ungodly….

    i like eating pork, specially lechon, but looking at this photo, i cant help myself think how sad those pigs are…

    Jan 14, 2009 | 1:41 am

  57. pining says:

    that is so out of order, very cruel…

    Jan 14, 2009 | 4:59 am

  58. Marketman says:

    kiko, no noise at all, no squealing, no whimpering, no struggling… bizarre, I know. chrisb, they could be fruitarians, I am not so up on the exact terminology but they could make lots of jam from ripe fruit, but in theory, they couldn’t use cane sugar, just grape juice as the sweetener… and what would they eat the jam with? Naturally dried pears and apples with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts? Hmm, that’s not sounding half bad.

    Jan 14, 2009 | 6:32 am

  59. carmina says:

    I am a carnivore too. Pero nakakaawa ang itsura nila.

    Jan 14, 2009 | 7:18 am

  60. carmina says:

    found the right word in one of the comments. i agree it’s disturbing to say the least.

    Jan 14, 2009 | 7:20 am

  61. natie says:

    pining– that is the order of the universe…

    ‘cruel’ is Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Darfur genocide, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge…

    this blog is predominantly about food, and the people who frequent it love their meat…

    Jan 14, 2009 | 8:13 am

  62. Good Life says:

    I have to look twice,maybe it was a joke.Poor piggies.

    Jan 14, 2009 | 9:54 am

  63. Sam says:

    Now that’s what I would really call hogtied, but not quite. They seem to enjoy stretching in the cool banana trunk sheath, never mind that they have to do impossible pig poses. Clever packaging. At least with this wrap and lounge technique, the piggies do not have to walk before they are slaughtered. The meat must taste better … relaxation / stretching = better porcine flavor and texture ?? (tongue in cheek) :u !! Go easy on me, non-carnivores !!

    Jan 14, 2009 | 4:30 pm

  64. quiapo says:

    For the first time ever, I am seriously tempted to become a vegetarian . .

    Jan 14, 2009 | 6:04 pm

  65. kurzhaar says:

    I’m not sure how the pigs are doing when tied up like that. So I’ll withhold judgment in this case. Certainly it is no worse than how commercial animals here in the US are generally treated. But then, that is why I try to avoid meat from non-humane sources. It’s not always possible but I do see that humanely produced meat is more and more easily available as time goes on, so I think the message is getting across. I’m no vegetarian…as I’ve posted before (yes, I do hunt and fish), but for health and environmental reasons, we should all be eating less animal protein. It doesn’t hurt to skip meat for a day or two or three. If you eat meat or diary, respect the source. (Goes for plants as well. Respect the source–i. e., the earth.)

    BTW, still waiting on your post on veal, MM. ;)

    Jan 15, 2009 | 1:50 am

  66. kurzhaar says:

    Some hours now since I posted the previous reply and I have been wondering how long the piglets had been trussed up like that. It occurred to me that perhaps the reason they appeared so still was because they were dehydrated and/or exhausted. I can’t imagine that they didn’t struggle when they were tied up.

    Jan 15, 2009 | 12:14 pm

  67. MIGS says:

    There is something so wrong about that picture I just can’t figure out. Perhaps maybe the piglets are not cooked.

    Jan 15, 2009 | 4:25 pm

  68. cabanagirl says:

    Moral of the story: be kind to EVERY LIVING THING lest you wind up being reincarnated as one of the pigs in the mountainous regions around Mantalongon!

    Jan 16, 2009 | 9:29 pm

  69. izang says:

    they are STILL alive???!! yikes… poor Babe….

    Jan 16, 2009 | 10:38 pm

  70. romwell says:

    I’ve been a fan of your site since you made the awesome adobo which I hold dear I even have it in my pda so that I could cook it whenever wherever craving strikes.

    Yung lechon chronicles mo was really awe inspiring. pero seeing pigs tied up like this kawawa naman. Food naman sila pero if you think about it kawawa diba. they give their life sot aht we could eat. I am just a well meaning carnivore. I havent seen a lechon I didn’t like pero seeing alive pigs being treated this way breaks my heart. incapacitated na nga nakabilad pa sa araw. pero baka yung saha ng saging keeps them cooler.

    pero just the same kawawa naman.

    Jan 17, 2009 | 4:16 pm

  71. Monique de la Cruz says:

    Ano kaya pag ganon rin ang gagawin natin sa mga batang Hyper. Rerelax din kaya sila? Lol. Joke!!!!

    Jan 18, 2009 | 2:39 am

  72. wil-b says:

    look at that last photo. . . the piggy loves to be tied. . .hehe

    Jan 19, 2009 | 9:42 am

  73. marisse says:

    Such a sad, sad picture … sometimes i wonder why i could still eat meat despite being an animal lover. i will be having bad dreams tonight …

    Jan 19, 2009 | 5:21 pm

  74. betty q. says:

    OHHHH…what would those piggies do if they get an itch?!? …or have to pee?!? or worse seeing them lie down like that..the head propped like that, it is hard to swallow. I propped my head like that for a few minutes, and boy, it is hard to swallow!

    How long are they usually tied like that?

    Jan 20, 2009 | 7:38 am

  75. abi says:

    its only today i wished i hadn’t opened my computer!

    Jan 21, 2009 | 1:26 pm

  76. Candygirl says:

    AW….poor piggies.

    Jan 25, 2009 | 4:17 pm

  77. Zita says:

    They look calm though…

    Jan 29, 2009 | 9:01 pm

  78. vegetarianpinay says:

    ai, kawawa! oh, i feel so sorry for them. i’m glad that you guys all feel uneasy looking at these pictures – the few days that you might avoid eating meat, will have saved several animals lives.

    Feb 5, 2009 | 1:50 am

  79. Jack Hammer says:

    You call it Lechon, the Portuguese call it leitão assado à Bairrada… Check out this page on the website herebelow … They use Eucalyptus Bark to fuel the Brick Ovens. http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Portuguese_roast_suckling_pig_(leit%C3%A3o_assado).

    We Goans too call it Leitao…and it should be less than 2 months old and weaned. Tony Bourdain has not tasted this Pigling yet.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 12:14 pm

  80. Ana Maria S.Guerreiro says:

    It’s been rather difficult to me to eat meat nowadays viewing theses videos and the conditions that poor animal live and died!!! It’s barbarian the way animals are treated!!!

    May 5, 2010 | 10:05 am

  81. Jack Hammer says:

    Just to stir the PETA people up.

    Once in Goa, India, some Brits fed a Porker a big stash of Marijuana stuffed in a Chappati.

    That guy just slept for 4 whole days and we children used to go and do stuff to it and it would not even grunt.
    Finally when everyone had tot he had given up his ghost and nobody was bothering him anymore, we heard grunts and snorts and saw him running wildly around and finally settling down to wallow in Mud.

    May 10, 2010 | 8:17 pm

  82. air23bc says:

    kawawa naman..pero ang linis nila ha

    May 24, 2010 | 1:12 pm


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