Environment: Eliminating the Haitian Swine

The death of island pigs could kill the peasant's way of life

For Haitian peasants, the native black swine, the so-called cochon planche, has long been a combination bank account, mobile garbage-disposal unit and occasional religious prop. Haitian farmers, among the world's poorest, have relied on the pigs to produce income for medical care, weddings, funerals and education. The long-legged, lean porker was also a helpful consumer of weeds and even human wastes. And of no small importance, hougans (priests) regularly appease their demanding Petro gods with the blood of a black pig, the preferred sacrificial symbol of voodoo.

But those Haitian pigs...

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