Kea's Escape from a Piggery to a Storybook Farm

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Kea's Escape from a Piggery to a Storybook Farm

[Ed. Note: 13,200 Pigs Are Slaughtered Per Hour Animated visual demonstrating the reality of over 13,200 pigs who are slaughtered every day just in the U.S. alone.]

From Leilani Farm Animal Sanctuary
September 2012

One December morning, a tiny piglet, born at a piggery where she was slated to be raised for pork, squeezed beneath a gate and escaped into a neighbor’s garage.

The neighbor wrapped the little piglet in a blanket and named her Kea (which means “white” in Hawaiian). Kea was the size of a rabbit, with white bristly hair and a high-pitched squeal. After contemplating the piglet’s fate, the neighbor brought Kea to Leilani Farm Sanctuary, where she knew she would be safe and loved for her entire life.

pig piglet rescue Lauralee Blanchard

As soon as Kea arrived at the Sanctuary, she met George, our blind pot-bellied pig, whom she immediately tried to nurse on.

George was not receptive to Kea, so we put her in with the rabbits, where she had lots of fun running in circles with them in their spacious enclosure. Within two weeks, Kea had outgrown the rabbit yard.

pig piglet rescue Lauralee Blanchard

Domestic Yorkshire pigs like Kea are bred by the pork industry to grow very large at a rapid pace. They gain a pound a day and can reach a staggering 1,000 pounds. Few pigs of this breed ever live to full size, because they are typically sent to slaughter at six months of age.

After outgrowing the rabbit yard, Kea was introduced to the other farm animals, including donkeys, deer, and goats. She enjoyed mingling with the herd and exploring the lush 8-acre farm. Penny, a goat with a sassy attitude, loved to tease Kea by head-butting her. The taunting lasted a couple of weeks until one day Kea realized that she was big enough to retaliate. Then, she had great fun by relentlessly chasing Penny all over the farm.

pig piglet Lauralee Blanchard

pig piglet Lauralee Blanchard

Soon Kea became fond of the donkeys and followed them everywhere, nuzzling their faces with her pink snout. When talking to the donkeys, she made entirely different vocalizations than the usual oinks, grunts, snorts, and squeals that pigs typically make.

When they brayed, she imitated them. She even tried to ride them and frequently stood on her two hind legs with her chin resting on their backs.

Now, when the sun goes down each day, Kea and the goats leave their pasture and walk through Animal Alley to the goat house where they sleep. A huge wild boar (whom we named Gus) comes over to flirt with Kea through the fence after dark. The “pig talk” between the two of them can be heard from the nearby cottage.

Quite the opportunist, Kea races first thing in the morning to the fruit orchard to snatch up any fruit that has fallen from the trees before the goats find it. Pigs are clever animals, with cognitive abilities equivalent to 3-year old humans. Kea has also figured out that when someone arrives with food scraps, the smartest approach is to sneakily walk toward her in a round-about way, to avoid alerting the goats to the goodies.

Indeed, Kea has all the comforts a pig could ever dream of: an idyllic life with mud baths, a fruit orchard, sunshine, and love.

By contrast, for the billions of pigs raised in factory farms, life is miserable. These pigs are treated as pork-producing machines and are forced to live on filthy, crowded concrete floors. Pregnant female pigs spend 24 hours a day confined in sow stalls so small and narrow that they can’t turn around or even lie down comfortably. After giving birth, mother pigs (sows) are placed in farrowing crates to nurse their babies.

At the end of their hopeless lives, factory-farmed pigs are trucked to slaughterhouses where they are violently killed for human consumption. Please think of Kea’s sisters and brothers before ordering your next hotdog, hamsandwich or bacon breakfast, and have  mercy on the pigs.

Be compassionate and go vegan!