Rescued piglets set to party in Goa

Panaji, Dec 20: Pigs may still not fly but in Goa, they certainly will party this Christmas.

Piglets destined for the Christmas table as glazed whole-roast centrespreads will instead oink around and twirl their tiny tails at a party by an animal rights group and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) here Friday.

The piglets, according to PETA, were rescued from being roasted whole as part of a long-standing Goan Christmas tradition, where small, tender pigs are slayed, stuffed with vegetables and other condiments, marinated and roasted whole in an oven.

“The Christmas party is for the piglets, which have been rescued from illegal slaughter by PAWS (Panjim Animal Welfare Society). It rescued around 100 piglets who will be there at the party,” Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, a nutritionist with PETA, told IANS.

The party will be held at PAWS animal rescue centre.

Perhaps only confirming Goa’s image as a party destination for all kinds of ‘party animals’, the piglets, Bhuvaneshwari said, would be feasting on corn, spinach, strawberries and other foods which they love to eat. All that will be laid out on the Christmas spread.

“The party’s all about the pigs who have been rescued. We will only stand by and watch,” said Bhuvaneshwari, adding that the rescue could only salvage a very tiny part of the herd, which goes under the slaughterers’ knife for the Christmas season.

“We can save only a tiny fraction of the pigs who suffer every minute of their lives in the pork industry. But millions could be saved if more people simply switched to a healthy, humane vegan diet. We urge everyone to consider making Christmas a joyous time for animals, too, by going vegan today,” she said.

For a place, where dipping ‘chapattis’ into warm and thickened fish curry from overnight is considered an ideal breakfast, going vegan is a mirage alright.

And Goa is known for a whole range of pork treats such as sorportel – a spicy vinegar-based gravy of pork bits, ears, tail cooked over days – sausages, cured pork stuffed in cattle intestines and pork chops.

The show-stopper as far as pork is concerned in Goa however is the whole piglet roast, where, according to barbeque specialist Vasquito Alvares, green chilli, black pepper and vinegar marinated baby pig is oven-roasted with or without stuffing for four hours, until the skin is a crispy brown, with the flesh still soft and tender inside.

“Each piglet weighs between 5-6 kg and costs between Rs.3,500-Rs.4,000,” he said.

“We get nearly 20 orders for piglet roast on Christmas,” Peter Simoes, a baker in Assagao, who caters to a tiny ward of the village, told IANS.

PETA however argues that pigs are highly intelligent, sensitive and, contrary to common perception, very clean animals who do not deserve to be “abused, slaughtered and eaten”.

Pigs dream, enjoy listening to soothing music and, when given the chance, establish complex social structures. They have very good memories and sophisticated communicative skills and have acted heroically, saving the lives of others – including humans, said a member of the NGO.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan.n@ians.in)

IANS