“I Create Art, I Save Lives,” — Says Pig Farmer and Tattoo Artist

These pigs live on the farm like kings. They get the best food, they enjoy the life, they grunt happily while rolling in the mud. And they… have a lot of tattoos!

2 mins read

MALAYSIA — We visited a farm with tattooed pigs that is located close to Ipoh city in Malaysia and talked to its owners. Alexander Franco, moved from Spain to Malaysia 12 years ago after marrying Siti Amira Rahim and they still live happily together.

They have 34 pigs, most of them with tattoos. It all started with Alexander’s hobby. He started his career as tattoo artist in Barcelona, in a small tattoo parlor. “It was a great time. I met many interesting people. A lot of them were from fashion industry, I was quite popular in my circle of friends,” says Alexander.

Later, he met Siti Amira, a young student from Malaysia. A few years later they got married, for Alexander it was the second marriage. The first one, according to him, was short and could not stand the hectic life he led then. Since then, 12 years have passed and everything has changed, except for Siti Amira next to him and his passion for tattoos.

Pigs and Critics

“Do I often encounter outrage from animal rights activists? Yes, constantly. But now this background of indignation has simply become a part of my life,” says Mr. Franco. “Understand that the way I tattoo pigs is as humane and painless as possible… But besides the fact that I realize my creative ambitions, albeit in a slightly non-standard form, I also save the lives of animals. Plus they are kept in good conditions and we will never kill them.”

21 of the 34 pigs were purchased from local farmers. The rest have already been born on the farm of Alexander and Siti Amira.

“Alexander repeatedly made tattoos to pigs and to order for rich people, we had politicians from the USA, Brazil. Russian businessmen asked the same. Alas, we can’t always track what happened to the animals later. Although Alexander always makes tattoos under the guarantee that the pig will live and die a natural death on a farm, surrounded by people like her. We asked to take photos or videos of our clients after a while, some of them sent us,” Ms. Rahim confesses.

Tattoo process

Alexander’s project had no shortage of detractors who denounced the work as an act of cruelty to animals. But if you understand the process of creating a tattoo, then you’ll find that it is quite standard and differs only in that the pig must be immobilized for some time. The pig is given an injection of sodium pentobarbital, so that the pig is unconscious. Then they shave the area where the tattoo will be applied. Add a large amount of soap and tincture, which is usually used to prepare human skin for a tattoo. With the help of a stencil, a drawing is superimposed on the body of the animal and a tattoo is stuffed.

Pigs and People

The difference between animals and humans is that pigs don’t choose whether they want a tattoo and never regret it. But people make a choice and … often become unhappy because of the tattoos on their bodies.

“If you put the question point-blank, then in fact we can say that people are mocking people, because the procedure for applying a tattoo really causes discomfort. In fact, people voluntarily allow themselves to be mutilated, right? Tattoos, piercings, hair color changes — is this violence against one’s own body?“ Alexander Franko asks. “If that’s the case, then don’t call me ignorant, but why doesn’t the animal rights organization expand its influence and create another organization, Bullying the Tattooed People (BTTP). I would even join such an organization. I’d explain people how important to be sure that you really want this tattoo so that you don’t regret it. I would also fight to inform people about tattoos, about how people can change their mind about you as a person when they see tattoos on your body. It looks spectacular on the screen, rock stars, movie stars, the whole body is painted. But in the office, let’s say, of a large investment firm, if you are an ordinary office worker, then colleagues can look at you askance. And sometimes it’s prejudiced against your work.”

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