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12 Pigs Enjoy Their New Home

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Volunteer extraordiaire Mike Radzvilowicz plays "Monkey in the Middle" with Cromwell and Louie.

We have taken in 12 pigs who all came from Wilderness Ranch in Colorado. After 11 wonderful years of rescuing and rehabilitating farm animals, Wilderness Ranch has closed its doors. But before they did, they raised enough money for us to build a barn so that we could provide a home for these amazingly HUGE, friendly and sweet-natured pigs. Each one of has their own rescue story but they will all have a happy ending now that they will live out the rest of their natural lives here with us.  >>see more photos<<

Snoozing in the new barn

Most of the pigs are about 6 years old and average 900-1000 pounds – way beyond their typical 6-month slaughter weight of 250 pounds. People are amazed when they see these massive creatures, but how often do people get to see a 6-year-old pig? These days a pig itself is a rare sighting, yet think of how frequently you see pork on a menu or at the supermarket. That’s because about 80 percent of America’s hogs are raised on factory farms.

There was a time was when a ride in the country could bring glimpses of pigs walking outside, rooting out a comfortable hole in the cool ground, or of a sow and her piglets resting in the shade. Today’s pig farm is often a depressing collection of windowless metal buildings, concealing pigs confined in crates, cages, and bare concrete pens.

Intensive confinement pens. Photo: Farm Sanctuary

In the last decade, well over half of all the family farms raising pigs have been put out of that business. Enabled by antibiotics that allow animals to be intensively confined, and encouraged by federal tax breaks that favor large-scale corporate agriculture, industrial pig farms now dominate the pork industry. This has created dire consequences for family farmers, consumers, the environment, and, of course, the animals.

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VOLUNTEER CREW BUILDS PIG BARN

Using an all-volunteer workforce braving the snow and bitter cold, we raised a 30 by 40 foot barn for the new pigs in only five weekends.

With his background in construction, Woodstock resident Chris Kerr headed up the team, barking orders to a motley crew of hammer-wielding time-donators. We warmed up at the end of each day with hot chocolates (made with dark cocoa, soy milk and vegan marshmallows, naturally).

Many thanks to Wilderness Ranch for funding the barn, and to our diligent (if sore) construction volunteers: Chris Kerr, Kirsti Gholson, Cameron Smith, Jenn Costello, Jason Kohn, Joey Frank, Dan Piraro, Ashley Lou-Smith, Frank Glenn, Loren Brown, George Kachadorian, Gus Mueller, Randy Van Zyverden and Kevin O’Brien.

Also many thanks to Dawn Ladd of Aurora Lampworks for donating materials and labor to wire up the pig barn with lights and outlets.

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