The summer of 2011 brought two very determined piglets to our New York Shelter. These tiny animals were born into a world whose prevailing forces, whether human or natural, thoughtlessly extinguish the lives of millions like them every year. Sebastian and Jane could have become just a couple more statistics subsumed in that great number. But a combination of luck, the kindness of strangers, and their own tenacity brought them instead to a world apart, where every animal is recognized, protected and loved.
Sebastian is a pig of remarkably good instincts. After escaping a heritage farm in Pennsylvania, likely while being moved from a farrowing facility to a nursery barn, the fugitive piglet sought shelter under a porch. That porch, it just so happened, belonged to a Farm Sanctuary member. When the member contacted us to ask if we would take in the runaway, we rushed out that very night to pick him up and bring him to our New York Shelter. A Hampshire pig, Sebastian would probably have been slaughtered for meat at just six months of age had he not made his dash for freedom. Though he is now safe from such a fate, Sebastian remains an avid runner, delighting to spend his days frolicking and playing outside.
Farm animals tend to comprise the largest population of victims during natural disasters, but their suffering and peril are typically ignored. We do not know how many animals lost their lives in the summer storms of 2011, but we do know one who saved her own. As torrential rains buffeted the Northeast, a woman near the flooded town of Wellsburg, N.Y., spotted a tiny piglet who had somehow survived a trip down a swift, rain-swollen creek running through her backyard and managed to struggle up the bank to dry land. The woman, a wildlife rehabber of 20 years, caught the shivering baby, whose skin had turned purple from cold, and brought her indoors. Despite her granddaughter’s hopeful suggestion that they keep the survivor, Jane’s rescuer decided it would be best for the little pig to come to Farm Sanctuary instead. Upon Jane’s arrival at our shelter, staff promptly wrapped her in warm blankets and began to lavish her with all the TLC she would need to recover from her brush with death.
These two tough piglets not only saved their own lives but also can now help to save the lives of others like them. They will serve as ambassadors for the many pigs who are still in danger, cultivating the sympathy and understanding that make this great big world a gentler place for all the little creatures making their way through it.