Inspiration for the photograph,
Sharing a Pig’s Thyroid

My photograph, ‘Sharing a Pig’s Thyroid,’ was created to express my gratitude to pigs for sacrificing their lives for myself and others.

After years of taking thyroid pills, I discovered that my medication was composed of pig thyroid glands which meant that pigs were sacrificing their thyroid to substitute for what my body was lacking.

I began to search around for people who were involved in a similar situation. The first response I got was from an old friend I hadn’t seen in thirty years. He wrote, “Dear Toby, in my triple by-pass surgery, the doctors replaced the membrane on my aortic valve with one taken from a pig. Please add a thanks for the pig membrane that is keeping my heart ticking!” This inspired me to create an artwork showing how interwoven our lives are with the lives of pigs.

Next spring, I intend to spend a few days at an animal sanctuary up state New York photographing pigs and creating more works. Proceeds from any sale of photos will be donated to the sanctuary to help with the work they are doing.