i.e. the old wooden pig shed
The pig shed shown in the museum is a replica from the Thuringian museum Hohenfelden and was built in 2000.
Pigs were kept in such sheds in the middle of the 20th century in south and central Germany.
Other sheds in use are made of brick with straw and a little window in front for feeding purposes.
These conditions were bad for the pig’s health, because of the bad air supply, poor illumination, thermal insulation and the restricted possibilities for movement.
Over the years and from generation to generation, the constitution of the animals deteriorated.
The development of the so-called „Lochow shed“ by the Lochow family who were important rye breeders from Petkus (in the south of Brandenburg), improved the housing conditions considerably after the 1920s.
Recent modern pig sheds were built under the pressure to produce efficiently on a global market.
The keeping conditions became important and improved in comparison to the early 1920s.
Today, there are very strict laws for environmental protection and animal welfare in Germany.
This has had a great influence on the keeping conditions for pigs and other farm animals.
Stone-Age man first began to domesticate wild boar in various parts of Eurasia approximately 10 000 years ago. This was done to avoid the time-consuming and dangerous hunting and to keep pigs as a live source of food. Since that time, pork has been eaten by people across the world, except for Jews and Moslems who have shunned pork for religious reasons. Along with fish and poultry, pigs are the most adequate animal for meat production and an important part on the human’s menu.
At 6 months, pigs are 90 times heavier than at birth. A sow can farrow to more than 30 baby pigs per year. But only 62% of a pig’s carcass is transformed into food for human-beings – meat, bacon, lard or sausage meat. The meat is an important, high-grade and highly controlled aliment. It contains micro-nutrients which are essential for growth and physical health. The bad reputation of saturated fatty acids that is to be found in animal fat has been revised recently.
A wide range of other products is made of pig. Some of these are shown in the exhibition and include:
- Pig’s leather
- Brushes and paint brushes made of pigs’ bristles
- Various products that are made of gelantine, e.g. cosmetics, tapes for films or audio-cassettes
- Fertalizer such as horn shavings
- Animal fodder such as animal meal
- Oil- and Stearin products
- Sausage casing made of bowels and bladders
- Insuline and blood charcoal made from glands, intestines, slime and blood.
The exhibition shows the dilemma of animal by-products that has existed since the BSE-crisis and goes into future exploitation possibilites of this valuable raw material, such as the reutilization for energy such as biogas, biodiesel and bioethanol.
Ultimately, this special exhibition conveys a vision of the future- the xenotransplantation, i.e. the transplantation of pigs’ organs and parts of their organs to the human body using gene technology. After all, heart valves have been transplanted successfully for more than 25 years.
The pig is a valuable resource for humans – from the meat production to a donator for spare parts.