In North Carolina, People, Pigs Get a Warm Introduction

In North Carolina, People, Pigs Get a Warm Introduction

 North Carolina is home to almost as many pigs as people, yet rarely do these neighbors ever meet… until now

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (August 23, 2017) – In North Carolina, one of the largest pork-producing states in the nation, pigs practically outnumber people, yet these neighbors rarely if ever meet (outside of the supermarket) because the pigs are hidden away inside the state’s more than 2,100 industrial farm facilities, where they never experience sunlight, fresh air, socializing, or any of the things that make living in the Carolinas so great.

A new campaign calledMeet Your Neighborsfrom the national animal protection nonprofit Farm Sanctuary, which counts the likes of Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, and Jon Stewart among its more than half a million members and supporters, aims to change that by introducing North Carolina’s 10 million people to the nearly 9 million pigs with whom they share the state, broadening public awareness about the nature of these smart, emotional animals and the negative impacts of factory farming on health, the environment, and social justice in the state.

“North Carolina is home to millions of pigs, but because these animals are crowded in factory farms and rarely seen by the public, people don’t realize that they are as cognitively and emotionally complex as the dogs and cats we live with,” says Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur, who TIME magazine calls “the conscience of the food movement” and a member of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100 dream team of “100 awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.” “We see each pig as someone, not something, and we want people to rethink their relationship with these neighbors.”

Pigs on Parade

In Asheville, the state’s arts and vegan mecca (where the mayor recently signed a proclamation deeming August 28–September 3 “Vegan Awareness Week”), the first sign that pigs are making their long overdue debut into North Carolina society are colorful life-sized pig statues popping up outside of business storefronts all over the city as part of Farm Sanctuary’s campaign. Painted by local artists and bearing names such as “Letting Pigs Fly,” “The Decisions We Make,” “Cycle of Life,” Pigs are Playful,” “Let Compassion Bloom,” and “The Dreamer,” the pigs are being met by people with curiosity and delight. And it’s inspiring people to post selfies using hashtag, #ThePigPicture, as each painted pig receives a visit. Find a map here.

But across the state, in eastern North Carolina, which is home to Smithfield Packing (the world’s largest slaughterhouse) and a dozen counties where pigs actually do outnumber people, the reality of factory farming is anything but hidden — the stench and contaminated water seep through the land they call home. Farm Sanctuary also wants people to meet these neighbors, the rural poor who are bearing the high cost of the world’s appetite for cheap bacon.

For more information on how to “Meet Your Neighbors,” visit

Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary works to change how our society views and treats farm animals through rescue, education and advocacy. The organization provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at three sanctuary locations in New York and California; promotes compassionate vegan living; and advocates legal and policy reforms. To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, visit


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