From Pigsty to Hog Heaven

Published by Alisa Mullins.

Big Boy was one of a group of 11 pigs whom PETA fieldworkers stumbled upon while delivering straw bedding and doghouses to needy dogs in rural North Carolina. The pigs’ living conditions were appalling: Their dilapidated makeshift pen was filthy and so littered with discarded wood, tin roofing, and other junk that the pigs had trouble walking around. Their accumulated waste was attracting biting flies, and the pigs had no water or shelter from the scorching sun.

The pigs’ owner was elderly and no longer able to care for them properly. After much discussion with PETA’s fieldworkers about what pigs need to survive and thrive, he accepted our offer to find them new homes. But who could take nearly a dozen pigs? While we put out feelers, our fieldworkers did what they could to make the animals more comfortable—cleaning up the pens, putting down straw bedding, providing the ravenous pigs with food and fresh water, and plugging up holes in the falling down “fence” that the tiniest piglets were escaping through.

Big Boy in Mud

A sanctuary in Maryland was able to accommodate most of the pigs—but Big Boy, being, well, big and a boy, was trickier to place. We recently located the perfect place for him—a sanctuary where he would be in the company of other big boys: The Pig Preserve in Jamestown, Tennessee.

Big boy in trailer

When moving day came, Big Boy was a bit apprehensive at first. Where was he going? Had this all been just a dream, and was he going to wake up back in that filthy sty? Big Boy needn’t have worried: He wasn’t going back to that trash-strewn pen in North Carolina. His new home couldn’t be more different: There are rolling green hills and woods to explore. He also has lots of new porcine friends—and many other animal friends as well. But perhaps best of all, there are mud puddles. You haven’t seen pure joy until you’ve seen 770-pound Big Boy rolling in a puddle.

Big Boy Umbrella

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind