The topic of my recent TEDx talk was, “Every Steak Has a Story,” and my point was that whether you buy meat from a factory farm or from a small farm, like mine, we should honor the animal that gave its life to create food. I decided to bring my “porch pig,” Tazzy, a 30 pound mini pig that is mostly house trained, on stage with me.
Tazzy is an “ambassador pig” who I bring with me to help illustrate that farm animals have personalities.
Well during that TEDx talk Tazzy proved she had a personality. Remember I said she was “mostly” house trained? If you've seen any TEDx talks you'll have noticed that the speaker stands in the middle of a circular rug. We can walk as we speak but must stay on the rug which is plush and red. I knew that Tazzy had a thing for plush rugs. Around the house we've gotten rid of all our plush rugs because Tazzy usually makes a “mistake” on plush rugs.
I knew this but yet I thought today would be different. Maybe I thought she would know she was on stage with over 200 people watching her. But I was wrong. The worse part was that while she was on the rug peeing behind me I kept talking! The audience was snickering and gawking but I thought it had more to do with my talk than watching a mini pig relieve herself on stage. Everyone in the theater knew what was happening except me.
When I was done and the organizers ran on stage to remove the rug and help us both off stage I was mortified. Why didn't I notice, why didn't I say something. Maybe because as a farmer and co-owner of Miles Smith Farm, this behavior is normal. Visitors laugh and point when they see a cow or calf relieve themselves on our farm.
I think the part where Tazzy blesses the carpet might get cut when the video of my talk when it is posted on-line. I hope at least one version is posted where they don't cut that bit. My talk was an attempt to share farm experiences with the audience. Tazzy took the moment to be a farm animal and I can't blame her. What's more real than a pig peeing in front of an audience of over 200 people?