13 BROKEN FAN
The giant pig factory’s newest white lab coat ran frantically through the pathways in the huge main room where the farm’s 100,000 pigs lived. His olfactory system was still not used to the putrid smell. He quickly began to loathe the fact that the medicine room is at the back of the building almost as much as he began to loathe his short time at the pig factory.
Fences organized crowded pens and held differently sized pigs. Some pens held pigs made just for one. He threw the door of the Attendant Room open and frantically yelled, “We’ve got a fan down! We need to hook up the Drop-Doc right away!”
The attendant’s eyes remained fixed to his magazine for many moments. Without saying a word, he casually hopped off his stool, grabbed a bag of medicine from the refrigerator and attached it to a pipe on the wall. “You working tonight?” he asked, looking at the new guy.
The attendant’s room was simple. It looked kind of like a kitchen. There was a fridge, a table with four chairs, and two stools tucked under the ledge in front of the huge glass window that overlooked the livestock.
“Uh, yeah I am,” the young worker stammered. “I got a double shift today,” he said, staring out the big window. Still, 100,000 pigs in one room, was troubling.
“Yeah, they always do that to the new guy,” the attendant chuckled. He then pressed some buttons on the wall above the countertop in front of him. Parts of the ceiling in the main room began moving and stainless steel Drop-Doc pipelines extended downward, lowering feeding tubes into each pen. The attendant watched, and within moments, the lines were flooded with a serum. Pigs began flocking towards the circular troughs around the end of each pipe.
“What’s in those tubes, anyway?”
The young worker waited for more but the attendant seemed content with his answer.
“Why do they need antibiotics?” he mustered.
“Do you know anything?” the attendant snapped. “Because the temperature in the building isn’t regulated properly if a fan goes down so it gets very hot in here. And the pigs could get sick if that happens… Gotta make the rounds. Let’s go, new guy. Chop, chop,” the attendant demanded as he held the door open and waved the young worker through.
“What’s wrong with that pig?” he asked, pointing to a pig immediately outside the door.
“This pig here?” he said pointing. “There’s nothing wrong with him; he’s probably just bored. Chewing on the bars gives him something to do. I guess they do it so often, I think they even like it!”
The young worker looked at the pig empathetically. The crates are so small and the pigs are so big. “How long do they stay there?”
On cue, the attendant kept talking as if he was going to anyway. “Female pigs are pregnant for four months and stay in these crates. Then they have their babies and when the babies are three weeks old, the babies are removed, and the moms are made pregnant again.”
“When do they go outside?”
“Outside? Ha-ha, good one! Outside . . . That’s funny, new guy.”