Kees Scheepens, veterinarian and by now world renowned as the “pig whisperer” and free-range pig farmer is the initiator of “FAM” Day (Farm Animal Memorial Day), which will be held in the weekend of June 18/19, 2022.
Through FAM Day Kees wants to heal the pain he felt and still feels when in 1997/1998, as a result of the outbreak of classic swine fever, 11 million pigs had to be killed. Kees, together with veterinarian colleagues, had to follow orders from the government and administer deadly injections to 130,000 healthy piglets. The pain is deep, and the sadness still there for the loss of these pigs – especially because at the time a vaccine was readily available. For the famers who lost everything it was a soul-breaking experience. A few of them committed suicide, and many became ill because of the stress they experienced. The EU did not want to vaccinate healthy animals against it but wanted to first eliminate all the animals, healthy ones too, out of fear that the meat would be rejected for export. That is the reason all pigs were killed, healthy ones together with diseased ones.
The pigs were ground up in a destruction factory and processed into animal feed. Kees says: “We were asked to become slaughterers and that goes completely against the conscience of a veterinarian: veterinarians are trained to cure animals, not kill them”.
Kees at this point wanted to emancipate the pig. He radically changed his career going from a large-animal veterinarian to becoming a free-range, high-welfare organic pig farmer. His pigs are raised outdoors on large fields with huts on them, like a campground for pigs. He wrote his PhD thesis on the behaviour of pigs, one of the most intelligent animals, and was rightfully given the title of pig whisperer.
Farmer Kees wants to pay tribute to the pigs, the farmers and the veterinarians still burdened by these painful memories and who need a moment of contemplation, and to process this in silence.
FAM day is also a tribute to all the animals that were, and still are being culled because of other animal diseases, such as Q-fever, mad cow disease, bird flu and Covid-19. Even today tens of thousands of farm animals continue to be culled due to virus outbreaks.
Artist Ellis Schoonhoven was asked by Kees to create a monument for FAM Day. Titled SUB ROSA (meaning “under the rose”), Ellis has started a Community Art Project for FAM Day. Thousands of white roses – crocheted by you – will be “planted” in the fields surrounding Kees’ pig farm, as a symbol of the need for humans to show more respect towards animals and nature and to learn from all these painful lessons.
The white rose, as a symbol of trust, reverence, memory, respect and affection is why we hope for an ocean of white roses on FAM Day to remember all the farm animals.
Farmer Kees invites you, together with Lesley Moffat (director of the animal-welfare NGO Eyes on Animals) Wilma Hezemans-Veugelers (from Steppie mijn Handwerk) Yuan Schoonhoven (from YuYu Visual Stories, film/edit ) and Ellis Schoonhoven (from De Nieuwe Creativen ) – to participate in this day and to help preparing for it.
Please will you crochet a rose for FAM day and send it to us?
PATTERN: How to crochet a White Rose
Below are the written instructions but click HERE to watch a simple instructional video
Before you start, allow an extra length of string of approx. 30cm to hang down.
Crochet 43 chain-stitches ( 40 + 3 that count as the first treble).
Now in the 3d chain-stitch crochet from the needle the 2nd treble, then in every chain-stitch two trebles (total of 83 trebles).
Make 1 chain-stitch and turn your work.
Now make 1 single crochet in the first stitch * in the next stitch 1 half treble + 1 treble, in the next stitch 2 trebles, in the next stitch 1 treble and a half treble, 1 single crochet in 1 stitch, 1 single crochet in 1 stitch. Repeat until the end and close with a slipstitch.
Cut your string at about 30cm so that you have enough left over to sew the rose together.
Roll your work up to form a rose. You can fiddle with it until you have a nice rose shape.
Then take a darning needle and go around and stitch all the layers together.
Don’t cut the two threads that are left over; this way you have something to attach the rose with later.
The rose is done!
PS: The thicker the string, the fuller and bigger the rose.
You can also crochet with double strings or work with 3 or 4 if you want to make a bigger rose.
You can even set up more stitches on chain-stitches, just don’t forget the three chain-stitches for the first treble. (for example 60 chain-stitches + 3 chain-stitches for the first treble ). Please only work with natural plant-based materials such as cotton, linen, viscose. If it is from an animal (such as wool) please only use material from farmers you personally know who sheer their sheep in a welfare-friendly way or use second-hand wool. Please do not buy new wool from unknown sources to make these roses as investigations have shown a lot of abuse takes place in the large commercial wool industry, sadly. Thank-you!
Send the white rose (roses) to:
De Nieuwe Creatieven/Ellis Schoonhoven Houtstraat 72 6511 JP Nijmegen Nederland
bring them by to the atelier: De Nieuwe Creatieven/Miss Marble Postweg 50A 14 6523 LD Nijmegen Nederland