Free the Cogges 2
Florence & Nancy are 2 Gorgeous rare breed young Pigs who were donated to Cogges Manor Farm by Prime Minister David Cameron who is also the MP for Witney where Cogges is based. As a farm with many acres of what appears to be grazing and pasture land, Cogges is also a scheduled Ancient Monument, and that has a significant impact on Florence & Nancy because according to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, it is a criminal offence to carry out works such as agriculture on a Scheduled Monument unless consent is received from the Secretary of State.
For these 2 young pigs, this means they can’t be allowed out into the surrounding fields to play, root, run, eat, investigate, wander and engage in the natural world; All the things that make life worth living, not just for a young pig, but for any animal, young, old, human or non-human.
Instead, Florence & Nancy are living in concrete pens with little in the way of stimulation, where visitors to the farm can only stare and throw food at them, making for a depressing existence and poor quality of life for these youngsters.
All pigs have a physiological and psychological need for mud which provides the most effective way for them to cool off by allowing them to regulate their body temperature as they are unable to release heat through sweating. Mud allows them to create a wallow in which they can perform their natural behaviour of rolling and covering themselves in mud. According to research made by Dr Marc Bracke from the Wageningen University and Research Centre, wallowing behaviour in pigs means much more for them than just regulating body temperature and keeping cool. Bracke believes the wallowing of pigs is a necessary action for their wellbeing and that farmers who do not provide wallowing areas for pigs are creating serious animal welfare issues. He says:
“The common perception is that pigs wallow mainly for cooling, sunburn protection and the removal of ecto-parasites. Little scientific evidence exists for other functions than thermoregulation… Wallowing, however, may also serve other functions, e.g. in scent-marking and sexual behaviour. In addition, wallowing in pigs, like dustbathing in poultry, maybe indicative of positive welfare and, perhaps, the performance of the behaviour is ‘hardwired’ and rewarding in itself.
We understand that the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 means Cogges cannot create a wallow for Florence & Nancy, as it could contravene the Act by causing damage to the monument. However this also means that these 2 young pigs are not able to even go out and root and forage to fulfil their basic instincts because this would cause “damage” to the land.
Although we do acknowledge that Cogges is under no obligation to make provisions to create a wallow, we believe that by promoting itself as a museum , Cogges has an educational remit to show it’s visitors, especially young people that it considers the needs of other species and to teach respect and compassion. Cogges says that children can take a tour of the site and learn about the different habitats that animals occupy. In the case of Florence & Nancy, children will learn that it is OK to keep pigs in a concrete pen where they have little stimulation or room to explore, root and burrow. As a result, as they grow and become older, they will become bored and frustrated and would then need to be separated because they will fight and bite each other in the absence of any other stimulation. We are also concerned that these current living conditions will quickly become too small for Florence & Nancy who will grow into large adults within a few months.
Pigs are playful, fun loving, sociable, inquisitive, lively and intelligent animals and we believe that as a family centred site, children should be seeing Florence & Nancy in a natural and stimulating environment where they are able to express their natural behaviour and fulfil their basic instincts. One where they can play fight, play love, chase one another, tumble around and generally enjoy themselves. Florence and Nancy are still YOUNGSTERS, like so many of the visitors who come to Cogges, and they will not grow into normal pigs if denied of the opportunity to play, just as human children develop behavioural problems if deprived of stimulation during their formative years.
We believe it is was irresponsible of Cogges to accept these 2 Young Pigs knowing that they would never be able to roam free around the many acres of green fields surrounding this Farm. We are asking Cogges to show some 'ethical room for manoeuvre’ and If they cannot vastly improve living conditions for Florence & Nancy, Cogges should consider other options which will allow these 2 young pigs to live a happy and contented life.
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