About Creole Pigs
Pig was a breed of pig indigenous to the
Caribbean nation of Haiti. Creole pigs were well adapted to the rugged
terrain and sparse vegetation of Haiti. The pig’s resilience allowed Haitian
peasants to raise these pigs with little resources. The peasants
characterized their pigs as never getting sick.
For generations, the Haitian
Creole pig had been a poor Haitian family’s most important economic asset.
Rugged foragers that coped well in Haiti’s tropical climate, Creole pigs were
cheap and easy for peasant families to raise. Beyond meat, the pigs' real
significance lay in their role as a “peasants’ savings bank”— an asset that
could easily be tapped into when cash was needed. These dark
black pigs were known for their boisterous nature and have been incorporated
into elements of vodou folklore and the oral history of the Haitian revolution.
early 1980s an outbreak of African swine fever hit the neighboring Dominican
Republic. Officials feared the flu might spread throughout Haiti and to the
United States, where it could devastate the pork industry. The United States
Agency for International Development, known asUSAID, and the Haitian government led a
campaign, known by the French acronymPEPPADEP,
to exterminate Haiti's pigs. Farmers who were compensated received pigs
imported from the United States that were far more vulnerable to Haiti's
environment and expensive to keep. In the year following the slaughter, levels
of enrollment in schools were dramatically lower throughout Haiti's
Haitian peasant community, the government's eradication and repopulation
program was highly criticized. The peasants protested that they were not fairly
compensated for their pigs and that the breed of pigs imported from the United
States to replace the hardy Creole pigs was unsuitable for the Haitian
environment and economy.
recent years, Haitian and French agronomists have bred a new variety of pig
similar to Haiti's Creole pig. An effort to repopulate Haiti with these pigs is