Last Saturday I had the chance to visit Pigs Peace, a sanctuary for abused and neglected animals. A hundred and ninety-one pigs now call the sanctuary home. They, and a few non-pigs, will get to spend the rest of their lives in peace. Old age is something most pigs never see, so living a long life is very special.
I went to the sanctuary because Jo Lombardi, a grief counselor, was offering a healing retreat for animal rights activists. Activists are often the people who see the things that others turn away from. We see the damage that others cause, and we know the dire situation that a lot of animals are in. That can be stressful, so having a safe place to talk among like-minded people was refreshing.
Jo is switching the focus of her practice to help animal activists exclusively. What a treat! She led us on guided meditation, a way to de-stress, and gave us materials so we could create an action plan and work toward balance in our lives. We were treated to vegan chili and snacks, and got a chance to share our stories with others.
After the retreat, sanctuary founder Judy Woods took us on a tour of the sanctuary.
We saw a group of pot-belly pigs rescued from a hording situation, we saw pigs who’d escaped slaughter and others who’d been rescued from neglect and abuse. The biggest pigs were 900 pounds! Unfortunately humans have been breeding pigs to be bigger and bigger. In the mid-1800s, a pig on a farm usually grew to 150 pounds.
One thing that struck me is how clean the farm was. It didn’t stink. The barn smelled like fresh hay. Pigs are naturally clean animals and don’t eliminate where they sleep. The barn was a place where the pigs could pile up, nest, cover up with hay, and get cozy. They did their business elsewhere. Of course pigs can’t sweat, so on hot days, you might find them cooling off in water or mud!
I was also surprised by how hairy the pigs were. I always pictures “pink pigs” as being hairless. Well the “pink ones” had white hair. Others were brown, black, spotted or two-tone.
Pigs are smart! Smarter than dogs. They’re funny, playful, responsive, inquisitive, and a joy to watch.
We got to throw pumpkins to the pigs. They came running through the fields from all directions when Judy called them. And within a few minutes, two wheelbarrows full of pumpkins were gone!
Next up: Carrots. Judy rang the dinner bell and the pigs ran to the cement feeding area that we were busy littering with carrots. One again, the pigs ate them all–all 100 pounds of carrots!
One pig, a beautiful gray spotted one, would gather up as many carrots as she could. She walked far away, carrots spilling from her mouth the whole way, and then ate her “stash.” None of the other pigs did that, but she preferred to eat “buffet-style.”
If you ever get a chance to visit Pig Peace, I encourage you to. If you can’t get there, visit their website and look at all the pigs and read their stories. Judging by the amount we fed them, I’m guessing it’s not cheap to run a pig sanctuary. Pigs Peace is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, so consider making a donation.
In case it’s not obvious by now, I want to remind people that pigs are beautiful creatures who don’t belong on a dinner plate. I’m so sick of the cult of bacon. Bacon, pork chops, sausage–they’re all the same. It’s the flesh of a pig. And pigs deserve better than this. They deserve peace too!
And now for your viewing pleasure: pigs!