source: The Courier-Mail
JAMES Cromwell has a pig from the past to thank for his present fame, but now he's hoping, in the future, he can help the porky creatures.
Cromwell, an Academy Award nominee for his role in the 1995 successful film Babe, is the new face of lobby group Animals Australia, and fronts its campaign to improve the conditions in piggeries across the country. The organisation is also involved in a federal government review of animal treatment codes and hopes to bring about drastic change.
But for now, Cromwell and Animals Australia are keen to educate consumers of all products pork, particularly at Christmas, to consider their next purchase. Almost five million pigs are slaughtered each year, the majority bred by the country's 2500 established piggeries.
Cromwell, an avowed vegan, said most pork eaters would not be aware of the horrifying conditions in which the animals were kept.
The savebabe.com campaign includes footage of a Victorian piggery with pregnant sows confined to stalls and unable to move.
However, one pig with a lifetime of freedom ahead of her is Bella, the other face of the campaign who has so far proven more popular than Cromwell.
In a walk down Brisbane's Queen Street Mall mid-morning yesterday, eight-week-old Bella attracted more attention, with many asking who the man was on the end of her lead – Cromwell.
"I owe an incredible debt to the wonderful pig (Babe) who gave me my career, which I didn't have up until then," Cromwell said.
"I was just a workaday middle-class character actor with not much hope, then suddenly I came to Australia to do this film, made this film and had a glorious time."
Animal rights activism has always been a topical issue for Cromwell, who was once arrested for protesting inside a US restaurant.
"If the public understood the cruelty and inhumanity and savagery of the systems that these animals are raised in . . ." Cromwell said. "The conditions that these animals will live and die in, any sense of recognition or recognition of their sanctity of being is taken.
"That creature is reduced to an object which has no more value than the sum of its parts."