Our Rescue Stories:
Is There A Solution?
Experience and observation and the school of hard knocks are all excellent teachers. Many of us who have worked with these pigs for decades believe that there is. And the solution, we have come to understand, is simplicity itself.
The two things that all pigs crave the most and find the least are SPACE and FREEDOM.
Traditional sanctuaries frequently house rescued pigs in densities that can approach 50 pigs per acre. This is the reality we have traditionally faced and accepted as we took in large numbers of pigs to keep them from being killed. Pigs by nature are nomadic creatures, frequently roaming many acres each day in their social groups as they forage and graze. The confinement of most sanctuaries, while necessary and well intentioned, does not address the needs of the pigs to roam and 'be pigs'.
The population at most sanctuaries is a proportional mix of young pigs, mature pigs and older pigs. Many of these pigs, especially the elders, are physically or emotionally compromised from earlier lives of abuse, neglect, lack of veterinary care, unhealthy life styles or the normal infirmities of old age. Managing and caring for a large and diverse population of pigs with minimal resources mandates that the pigs be kept in individual pens or, at best, small homogenous groups and confined in small enclosures or small pastures to facilitate their daily feeding, watering and medical care by a small number of caretakers.
After taking a hard, critical look at our sanctuaries and our traditional methods of operation, we have come to the conclusion that, while we try, as best we can, to provide for the pigs entrusted into our care, much of what we do for them is counter to their long-term physical and emotional needs.
We asked ourselves these two questions:
1) How can we do things differently?
2) Is there a way to provide lifetime care for a large number of pigs in a way that offers them a healthier, more natural lifestyle while, at the same time, decreasing the amount of labor and lowering the cost-per-pig-per-year?
The answer to these questions is an unequivocal YES.
But the solution, while simple in concept, requires that we rethink our philosophies, critically examine our old ways of animal care and exhibit a willingness to 'think outside the box'...learning to 'think like a pig' in the process.