Let’s get the flock out of here

Or, if we’re talking about pigs, the herd. And obviously that’s a lot easier if the herd has its own fully signed, designated escape route which it knows because there have been escape drills. Yes, we’re still talking about pigs, and no I’m not making this up. I’ve banged my head on the desk once or twice but this bloody article is still there.

Click for linky and loss of will to live

If fire engulfs a piggery in Monto, its residents can rest easy. That fluorescent exit sign above the doors will save their bacon.

And also saves me making that joke. Predictable, I know, but better than the ‘hamstrung’ one the Courier Mail used in their headline.

In one of the most ridiculous rules stifling small business in Queensland, piggery operators are required to install illuminated exit signs inside pens occupied solely by pigs.

Okay, look, I know pigs are supposed to be relatively intelligent creatures but I can spot two flaws with this. Flaw number one is that I’m pretty confident they’re not that intelligent. Flaw number two, and this is important for anyone who believes you can teach a pig what a sign’s for, is that’s a running fucking MAN on the emergency exit sign.

But it’s okay because after that the rules begin to make sense. No, just kidding, they don’t.

Regulations also demand an escape door for pigs to use in case of fires…

You might already spot the potential problem here.

… but which farmers fear the animals can use any time.

Which suggests that someone in the Queensland government has failed to recognise that emergency exits aren’t used all the time because you can explain to people that this exit, this one over here, is for emergencies only and that one over there is for coming and going as you please. This is simple enough even for a fairly young child to grasp, but I wish you the very best of luck if you’re hoping to explain it to farmyard animals. You’re going to need every bit of it.

Oh, and then there are the fire drills. Fire drills! That must have been funny enough to sell tickets for.

“Right, we’ll try again. Now, Napoleon?”
“When I blow this whistle you call Pinkeye and Squealer…”
“No, listen…”
“Just listen a minute…”
“Ah, screw it. They’ll all be in bits on cold shelves in a few weeks anyway.”

“A concrete block shed with steel roof trusses and corrugated iron roof, built to hold 60 pigs in four pens, had to have a fire hose, an illuminated “EXIT” sign above each of the two doors and an evacuation procedure displayed in a prominent position,” former pig farmer Darryl Stewart told an industry survey.

A fire hose? But how… ?

“The biggest difficulties were teaching the pigs to read the signs and procedures, conducting fire drills so the building could be evacuated in orderly fashion and training the four most intelligent pigs as fire fighters.

Presumably chosen from among Pugh, Pugh, Barney MacGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Snouter.

And it had to be done all over again every three months because that is when a new batch replaced the old batch.
“Oh, and rounding them up from anywhere within a 5km radius after every fire drill was not much fun either.”

Okay, I am actually laughing now because I’ve got this mental picture of pigs running in every direction apart from back to the piggery, and there is Benny Hill music. Still, this is a former pig farmer and he’s probably kidding, right?


Ian Hill, of Bailey Creek Piggeries in Mulgildie, confirmed to The Courier-Mail exit signs were legally required in pens.
“It’s one of the council requirements that when you put a building in that they want illuminated exit signs at every piggery building,” he said.
A Biloela piggery owner confirmed signs and particular types of doors that pigs could use in a fire were a legal requirement.
“We had a fire inspector come through here when we put up sheds years ago, and he made us put in fire extinguishers, put up the illuminated signs … There’s no deviation,” he said.

And of course the serious side to this is that of costs to businesses. Someone’s got to go out and buy signs which are quite meaningless to the inhabitants of the buildings they’re put up in, plus install and maintain equipment that those inhabitants can’t operate with trotters or even comprehend the purpose of – with the exception of the pig operable doors that are supposed to be for emergency use assuming you can get that concept across to a pig. Not only that but you can’t cut corners because there are inspections, and to cap it all your taxes are helping to pay not just for the inspectors’ wages but also those of the clowns, who I’m guessing saw Porky the Fireman while stoned off their dials and thought it was a good idea, who came up with these regulations in the first place.

Memo to the Queensland government. Don’t attempt to teach a pig Occ. Health and Safety. It wastes your time and annoys the pig, but it really infuriates the poor sods who actually have to pay for it.

3 comments for “Let’s get the flock out of here

  1. November 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Lots of fun, sure, but aren’t these signs for the people working in the piggery? Presumably every building has people working in it at some point, even a pig unit. And fires happen. I assume you don’t object to fire exits and signage where people are working?

    If the buildings were exclusively occupied by animals, fine, but I doubt if that is the case.

    • November 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Well, the article certainly gives the impression that it’s for the pigs, and let me draw your attention to this bit again:

      … types of doors that pigs could use in a fire were a legal requirement.

      That pigs could use. On top of which it’s Queensland, and other reports of loony Occ. Health & Safety requirements have come out of that state lately – State Emergency Service volunteers leaving because of OHS, one who wasn’t allowed to use a ladder until he’d done the ladder training course despite being an electrician in his day job who spent half his time up 5 metre ladders; Emergency Management Queensland knocking back the donation of a couple of boats to help with the floods earlier this year because of red tape requirements meaning they couldn’t be used in time. Kind of lends plausibility to the idea that some idiot would want an animal operable fire exit, and if an exit then signs, extinguishers etc, though granted I doubt even the madmen up there expect the pigs to actually use those.

  2. Ian
    November 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    In the interests of pig rights, I trust that mats are provided for prayer.

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