Our Rescue Stories:
The land on which The Preserve is located is privately owned. The land was purchased in April 2006 and the work of creating The Preserve began in earnest in May 2006.
The Preserve consists of approximately 100 acres of remote, pristine, rolling land located on the High Cumberland Plateau in the Cumberland Mountains of North-Middle Tennessee within a few miles of the Kentucky border in Fentress County , Tennessee . The Preserve is located about 45 miles from the nearest Interstate Highway and approximately ½ mile from the nearest paved road.
The land is an excellent mix of deep woods (approximately 50 acres), lush pastures (approximately 40 acres). The remainder of the land contains the caretaker's house, a barn, outbuildings, a small shop and several garden areas. There are four spring fed ponds on the property along with numerous all-weather springs and several streams. The land is a mix of rolling hills with small bluffs. The pastures are planted primarily in fescue and clover while the woods contain mostly oak, poplar, hemlock, maple, cedar, walnut, beech, hickory and other native trees.
The equipment to build and maintain The Preserve has already been purchased and is in place...trucks, tractors, a wide range of farm implements, trailers, utility vehicles, etc.... Maintenance and repair of this equipment will be the responsibility of the owners of The Preserve.
Much of The Preserve is not yet fenced...or is currently fenced with ancient, dilapidated barbed wire not suitable for pigs. Since May approximately 40 acres of The Preserve have been re-fenced with 4-gauge cattle panel fencing...including approximately 20 acres of woods, 20 acres of pasture and three of the four ponds. As funds become available, the remaining 50+ acres will be fenced...hopefully within the next year. Fencing the land is an expensive and time consuming process since much of the fencing is being done in thick woods and across steep hollers without destructive clearing for fence lines, which would destroy the pristine environment we are striving for. It is also necessary that we recover and remove miles of the existing barbed wire as we fence...a difficult, time consuming job since much of this wire has been in place for many years.
There was only one, old permanent barn on the property when the property was purchased. The barn has been rehabilitated and is currently housing 6 pigs, serving as an interim feed storage facility, as a storage site for 250 bales of bedding hay from our pastures as well as an indoor parking area for the two tractors.
In October 2006 The Preserve embarked on the first phase of our shelter-building program. The first priority is to build winter shelters for the 15 farm pigs already living at The Preserve. Two large run-in sheds, measuring 12' x 24', have been placed in the woods and at least two more are planned. They will be located in the woods near the ponds where the farm pigs have chosen to live and will be reinforced inside and out to accommodate these rambunctious giants.
Once the farm pig shelters are completed and in place, we will begin constructing skid-mounted shelters for the miniature pigs. Because of their tropical heritage, the shelters for the miniature pigs will be a combination of run-in sheds and enclosed barns, which will offer the smaller pigs totally enclosed protection from the winter weather.
Eventually, as time and funding allow, permanent feeding stations and feeding pavilions will be constructed so that the pigs can be fed in all weather conditions
The population of The Preserve will grow only as fast as we can fund and construct secure areas and adequate shelters for the pigs.
The caretaker's house contains a full basement, which has multiple bedrooms, a separate bath, separate full kitchen and full living quarters (including its own septic system, a separate heating/AC system and separate TV hook-ups). This area is being converted into separate living quarters for live-in volunteers and long-term interns.
For the larger farm pigs, the situation is even worse. Their size virtually eliminates any possibility of them finding a private home. The cost of their care and their need for larger spaces makes it difficult for sanctuaries to house large numbers of the Gentle Giants.
Yet, as more and more Americans discover the plight of the factory farm pigs, an increasing number of farm pigs are being rescued every year. But rescuing a farm pig from the factory farm or the slaughter line is only the beginning. Once rescued, these pigs need a place to live out their lives and the well-intentioned rescuers quickly turn to sanctuaries to provide this life time care.
Finding the means to care for these large numbers of pigs is a daunting challenge. Many sanctuary directors are not well schooled in business practices or fund raising techniques. And traditional sanctuaries, by their nature, are costly, labor-intensive operations...existing primarily on donations, contributions and the occasional small grant.
Private citizens, corporations and philanthropic organizations are bombarded with requests to fund the rescue and care of a wide variety of animals. Pigs, and pig sanctuaries, must compete with the overwhelming demands for these finite resources. All too often, they find that they cannot successfully compete in a world where the lowly pig is not considered an animal worthy of saving...even by animal welfare and animal rescue groups. Pigs are, all too often, the red-headed step children of the animal rescue world.
Sanctuary owners and directors burn out at an alarming rate. It is a physical and emotionally demanding job; compounded by the fact that most pig sanctuaries are small operations with few, if any, paid employees and a disproportionately high number of animals to care for on a 365 day a year basis. As smaller, overburdened sanctuaries fail, their pigs must be frantically shuffled and relocated to other already overburdened sanctuaries, stressing a system that is already operating at or above capacity.