Pig at the Hanford Animal Farm, Declassified

Pig at Hanford Animal Farm, declassified

Pig at the Hanford Animal Farm, declassified
20 w by 15 in h
Digital Painting
Based on a photo from the "Hanford Historical Photo Declassification Project".
copyright J Kearns 2006

Read the introduction to the Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project paintings

Rumors spread far and wide of an entity named Charlotte who loved Wilbur and showed the world he was some pig

This is a pig at the Hanford Animal Farm.

And this is a pig at the Hanford Animal Farm.


DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number "N1D0006093"
Accession Number N1D0006093
Document Number 10270-NEG-E
Alternate Document Number 10270-NEG
Title Description FEEDING PIGS - 100-F AREA
Document Date 12-Jul-1954
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

I'm not sure what they're doing to the pig but whatever it is seems to involve forced water intake as that is a hose they're holding in the pigs mouth and water is pouring out of the hose and into the pig. The photo's caption reads the pig is being fed. Perhaps this could be called feeding.

Full disclosure--I'm not a vegetarian. But I believe in humane farming and am sensitive to animal research issues.

These were some pigs not destined for the dinner table

As radiation research subjects, they were destined to become part of the 40,000 tons of animal carcasses and manure unearthed from burial trenches at Hanford in 2007.

Waterboarding was much in the news when I came upon the photos of the pigs, and I was reminded of all that I'd heard of Hanford's pigs, as a child, for my father conducted radiation research on Hanford's miniature pigs and thus I early learned that in many respects the biology of pigs resembles that of man.

A 1963 article from the Tri-City Herald (Richland's paper) described the development of the pigs for research purposes.


Bea McClanahan, biological scientist at the Hanford plant, brought dinner to two "Hanford whites,' the miniature strain of pig which is being developed for scientific work. The pigs are descendants of swine brought to this country by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century. The miniature breed is being developed to approximate the size of man and because smaller pigs are easier to handle in laboratory work.


By R. F. Nowakaowski

An old German prover notes that "a dog looks up to you, a cat looks down on you, but pigs is equal."

This startling resemblance pigs bear to man is being exploited by Hanford scientists in research concerning radiation and its effects.

PIGS HAVE DIGESTIVE tracts similar to man and they thrive onthe sort of diet man should eat. Their digestive ailments are much the same.

Pigskin, in areas not covered by hair, has a texture like man's.

Their hearts and blood vessels are much like those of man and subject to the same diseases.

Like man, pigs have tendency to put on weight, and an 800-pouund hog is a little too much to wrestle in a laboratory experiment.

AT THE HANFORD ANIMAL farm, a breed of "miniature" white swine known as the "Hanford White" is being developed especially for research. It now approximates the size of man, weighing about 150 pounds when full grown. Work is continuing to develop even smaller pigs which will be 40 to 60 pounds when full grown.

We'd like to have a pig of 40 to 60 pounds because it costs less to feed them, they take less space and are easier to hand," explained Dr. Leo Bustad, manager of the animal-farm operation for General Electric Co. at Hanford.

For a long time, many scientists wanted a breed of swine small enough to live their entire life in a laboratory: pigs that are small normally rather than dwarfs.

These swine, they felt, would be especially useful in many human-disease studies because of their similarity to man.

AT PRESENT, PIGS ARE being used for studies of various skin diseases, diabetes, cancer irradiation, virus and eye diseases, and nutrition studies in some of of the leading medical schools of the country.

Pigs would have been used more but for the emphasis of commercial breeders on rapid growth to great size.

At least one commercial company had started work to develop a small breed of pigs when Bustad began work on the effects of radiation on skin. He found, however, there were no small, white pigs available. The spotted pigs were not as useful.

Work to develop the Hanford White began about 10 years ago.

BUSTAD OBTAINED SOME small pigs from the Hormel Institute in Minnesota and others of the Pitman-Moore strain developed from Louisiana swamp hogs.

Both strains can trace their family trees further into history than the Pilgrams. The pigs are believed almost certainly to be descendants of some which escaped the Spanish explorer DeSoto who landed in Florida in 1539.

Glenn Horstman, who works with Bustad, said the Pitman-Moore board was crossed with a white Palouse pig to start the new strain.

MORE THAN 1,400 HAVE BEEN farrowed, and interest is growing. Six were sent to England for studies concerning beam-neutron radiation. A pair went to an institution in Colorado for a government sponsored study on cardio-vascular diseases.

The Department of Health, Education and Welfare wants some of the miniature pigs for study concerning drug reactions both internal and external. Dental schools are interested for research.

But, Bustad said, the breed is still under development and not ready for release.

POSSIBILITIES OF COMMERCIAL development are small. There is not much market interest in the miniature pig as a meat animal, although this is being considered.

Laboratories which use the miniature pigs want only breed stock so they raise their own.

Hanford can release excess pigs only through the usual government surplus procedure, which would make it difficult for a commercial raiser to get any. First opportunity to obtain these goes to other government agencies.

My father worked with Bustad. I remember his name from home, and that he was a survivor of a WWII Nazi prison camp. Being a child, and the horrors of Nazi Germany being worlds distant to me, my vision of Bustad, who I never met, was of a wizened, old man in his late sixties, intellectually acute, but otherwise necessarily enfeebled by his time in the prison camp. Thus, finding a page at Pet Partners honoring him for his humanitarian work with people and animals, I was surprised to learn he was 78 years of age at the time of his death in 1998.

Bustad spent a majority of his adult life devoted to work on the human-animal bond and became known as a pioneer in human-animal bond theory and application.

Under the leadership of Michael McCulloch, MD, William McCulloch, DVM, and others, the Delta Foundation was established in 1977 in Portland, Oregon. In 1979, Bustad and Linda Hines founded the People-Pet Partnership at WSU, the first university-based community service program on the human-animal bond.

It would be interesting to know how Bustad felt about his work at Hanford when in his post-Hanford years as dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

What I learned as a child in Richland, the skill sets I developed for coping with Richland life in the desert and a skeptical daughter of the atomic age, ill-served me for life elsewhere. When we moved away, eyebrows in other states were raised at my stories of Richland life. even the mild fact of miniature livestock used for research. But Richlanders knew the wonders of science, and after we moved away my mother and I developed hoaxes concerning miniature camels, convincing and entertaining old home town friends with extended stories on the camels and how we rescued one or several which cavorted in our backyard, until we determined the story had run its course.


DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number "N1D0018743"
Accession Number N1D0018743
Document Number 13755-NEG-C
Alternate Document Number 13755-NEG
Document Date 19-May-1956
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002


DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number "N1D0018569"
Accession Number N1D0018569
Document Number 13721-NEG-J
Alternate Document Number 13721-NEG
Title Description 100-F ANIMAL FARM - HANFORD HOG
Document Date 04-May-1956
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002


DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number "N1D0018565"
Accession Number N1D0018565
Document Number 13721-NEG-B
Alternate Document Number 13721-NEG
Title Description 100-F ANIMAL FARM - HANFORD HOG
Document Date 04-May-1956
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

Originally posted on my blog May 25 2006.

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