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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Fall 2003 Edition

Columbia County Chapter

As you can see by the article reprinted below, a kind and dedicated Columbia County resident, Liz Lukowski, and our Joan Zacharias, have been busy. The article "Vegetarians Save Two Pigs at the Fair," by Taitia Shelow with John Mason, appeared in the September 4th issue of Hudson Valley Newspapers. It is reprinted here with permission of the Hudson Valley Newspapers.

Vegetarians Save Two Pigs At The Fair

Two little piggies from the Columbia County Fair will not be going to market like the rest of the livestock auctioned off Monday afternoon.

Right now, in fact, the pigs, named Jen Claire and Mrs. Philly Cheese Steak, are resting comfortably in their new Red Rock home.

Local vegetarians Liz Lukowski and Joan Zacharias, vice-president of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, spearheaded an effort by concerned citizens to save the pigs from slaughter. A monetary donation from Vegetarian Vision, an international vegetarian advocacy group based in New York City, enabled them to purchase the pigs for a total of $1,665.80.

The goal was to save the pigs but not provoke any kind of confrontation, Lukowski said. While they might not agree with the practice of selling the livestock for slaughter, the vegetarians support the local 4-Hers who raise them. The 4-H group that raised the pigs was led by Phil Trowbridge.

"Our intention is to show that there can be a peaceful end to a county fair and that pigs as a species do not solely function as meat," Lukowski said. "It's just an alternative way to have a livestock auction."

The same approach has been used in seafood markets for years, where lobsters are purchased and carried down the beach, back to the waves.

Lukowski admitted to a case of nerves before the auction, as she didn't want to provoke any confrontations. But everyone at the auction treated her courteously, she said. When auction workers asked how the vegetarians wanted their pig cut, they simply said: "Oh no, we're taking her home."

"Everyone was so kind and really worked with us," Lukowski said.

Lukowski won the bid for Jen Claire at $1,350, which she called an "exorbitant" price ? about $5 a pound - but that was because it was a benefit. When Jen Claire went up for auction, Lukowski said, Mrs. Philly Cheese Steak began kicking very violently at the pen.

"That was one of the reasons we knew we wanted to get both of them," Lukowski said. "These two sisters were very attached to each other."

She then got down in the stall with the pigs, her first time.

"I kind of bonded with them," she said.

The pigs were then successfully transported to their new home, where they quickly got comfortable with their surroundings before falling asleep, Lukowski said.

The pigs will remain in the care of Deborah Dickman and Susan Whissler's sanctuary unless/until they can no longer care for them. If that happens, the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society will raise care funds or make an alternate arrangement.

Whissler and Dickman had a hog who died of old age at 1,200 pounds.

Lukowski said Mrs. Philly Cheese Steak will mostly likely be re-christened.

Addendum by Liz Lukowski: Often, when I visit the pigs, I am overwhelmed by the fact that these two gals were hours away from death on that Labor Day weekend. These pigs, like every other living creature, have a right to be living the fabulous life that they are living. We merely gave them back what was rightly theirs, that being, "a pig's life."

We look forward to hearing from you

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