Will E.B. White’s Home Become a Pig Empathy Museum?

PETA Proposes Using Historic Farmhouse to Teach Visitors About Intelligence of—and Cruelty to—Today’s Wilburs

For Immediate Release:
August 10, 2017

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Bangor, Maine

Now that the Maine farmhouse in which E.B. White wrote Charlotte’s Web is for sale, PETA has sent a letter to the real-estate agent handling the property requesting that the owners convert the home into an empathy museum for pigs, complete with a vegan café offering veggie sausages, vegan BLTs, and more.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—shares its plan for displays that would highlight that, just like White’s iconic character Wilbur, real pigs are intelligent, social, and playful animals. They’re even smarter than dogs.

“E.B. White’s portrayal of a pig named Wilbur inspired people all over the world to take a closer look at the animals they consider to be ‘food’ and go vegan,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk says. “A PETA museum in his historic farmhouse would help visitors see that every pig is some pig, an intelligent individual and not a collection of sausages, bacon, and chops.”

In today’s meat industry, pigs’ tails are chopped off, their teeth are cut with pliers, and males are castrated—all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, they’re hung upside down and bled to death, often while still conscious.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Downeast Properties follows.

August 10, 2017

Martha Dischinger

Real Estate Broker

Downeast Properties

Dear Ms. Dischinger,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide in response to the listing of the terrific home of E.B. White, where a spider inspired him to write Charlotte’s Web. Since this tale has prompted many to take a closer look at the animals they consider to be “food” and go vegan, we’re interested in the possibility of converting the house and grounds into an empathy museum, where people could come to learn about the intelligence and sociability of pigs like radiant Wilbur and appreciate them as individuals deserving of understanding and respect.

As we all know, because of the power of Charlotte’s words, Wilbur was able to escape his fate of ending up on the dinner table, but it’s typically only pigs in movies who get to run across sprawling pastures and relax in the sun. On any given day in the U.S., more than 68 million pigs are living in misery on factory farms, and 115 million of these animals are killed for food each year. Even on farms that label themselves “humane,” we know firsthand—and have the video evidence to prove it—that pigs are mutilated (castrated, ear-punched, de-fanged, de-tailed) without painkillers. In addition, the mothers are artificially inseminated (raped), robbed of their offspring, and shipped in the freezing cold or sweltering heat down the highway to watch other animals be killed in front of them, before enduring the same fate.

Our empathy museum would have a vegan café featuring delicious veggie sausages, vegan BLTs, and other pig-friendly snacks, as well as informational displays that highlight interesting and often conveniently ignored facts about these animals and remind visitors that pigs should not be seen as bacon, sausage, or chops but rather as living, feeling beings just like us. Pigs are extremely good-natured animals. They’re playful, affectionate, sensitive, and intelligent—smarter, in fact, than dogs!

We do hope the current owners will keep White’s message alive by donating this home to PETA. We realize that this would be a hefty donation, but they would be able to take a tax donation for the value of the property. In addition, the iconic design would forever be preserved, they would make a huge contribution to our society’s evolution toward greater kindness to animals, and we would put up a plaque with their names on it in honor of the endowment. If not, perhaps they would consider leasing the property to us for a modest amount so that we could install a temporary museum that inspires visitors to practice compassion. Please let us know their thoughts on this matter, for the sake of all humble pigs. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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