This Little Piggy, dissected

You all know the nursery rhyme This Little Piggy. If you don’t, it’s because you grew up without any toes. But I grew up with toes, so I know it.

You also might be aware that it goes something (and I mean exactly) like this:

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.

The rhyme is usually counted out on a person’s toes, a small person, otherwise known as a child. Each line corresponds to a different toe, usually starting with the big toe – actually ALWAYS starting with the big toe. Who the hell does this rhyme in reverse? Noone, that’s who. Anyway, a foot tickle is usually added during the ‘Wee…all the way home” which generally makes the child shriek with delight.

This little piggy went to market

Let’s start with the first line, regarding the piggy that ‘went to market’. For starters, it’s strangely referred to as a ‘little piggy’ when it essence that toe is at least twice the size of the next competitor. But we’ll just put that down to poetic license.

As a child, hearing this line made me think of a beautiful sow perusing the fine wares at a local marketplace. She’d be catching up with old friends, buying scarves, fruit & vegetables and a few treats for the kids.

But alas, if adulthood has taught me one thing, it’s that it sucks. This pig wasn’t doing the weekly shopping for her kids down at Coles Express.

She was on her final voyage, to the market to be sold to a slaughterhouse. She would then either be stunned using electric current applied with electrodes, or stunned using captive bolt pistol, or via an inhalation of CO2.

She would then be hoisted on a rail, after which it would be exsanguinated (blood-letting), usually via the carotid artery and the jugular vein. After the blood is gone, the carcass is drenched in hot water in a device called a pig scalder which helps in the removal of hair, which is subsequently completed by using scissor-like devices and then if necessary with a torch.

The pig is then eviscerated, the head is usually removed, and the body is cut into two halves. The remaining halves are washed to remove any remaining blood, bacteria or remains of bone, and then cooled down in order to help with the process of cutting and deboning.

However, some would consider emulating this on a child’s toe to be somewhat cruel.

This little piggy stayed home

The second line no doubt is referring to the grieving ‘soon-to-be’ widower, whom the farmer has deliberately kept at home for breeding stock. He is in no state to be moving on from his slaughtered wife, but is forced to have loveless sex with new suitors at the farmer’s behest.

This little piggy had roast beef

This line is strange. Who feeds pigs roast beef? Well, farmers do, idiot. Pigs are omnivorous and it is common to feed them table scraps and garbage when “slopping” them. This pig is obviously underweight, and to fetch a good price later on, it must first gain some girth. Delicious, rindy, girth.

If I was present at the scene pictured here, I would slam the pig’s head into the beef, and thoroughly hack the meat-mash up until it looks delicious enough to eat. Oh, god I’m hungry.





This little pig had none

Why would the farmer feed one with delicious roast meals, yet deny the other such privilege? Well, it’s because, much like Pig 1, this pig is about to be slaughtered. Yep. Just before slaughter, farmers either don’t feed the animal or may instead feed it something like a lot of over-ripe fruit. Either way, the goal is to minimize the amount of material in the gut and bowels.

And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.  

This is true, yet somewhere along the way was lost in translation.  It should be “oui” not “wee.” This whole rhyme is about French pig farming and this last pig is shouting his exultation at not meeting the fates of pigs 1 and 4.

He, being French and full of cowardice anyway, ran for the hills. Literally. There were a couple of hills just next to the farm, and he jumped the fence with all his might, and piss bolted up one of them, never to be seen again. Until it was on my plate, a fortnight later. Lolz j/k – he got away and lived with bishops in the jungle for a bit, regaling them of the heroic tale of his escape. When they were fed up with his ONLY story, that he kept on repeating, they ate him up. With apple sauce.