Stella's Story
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From Rooterville, A Sanctuary December 2012

Stella is the first factory farm hog that came to Rooterville. She had wandered into a family’s driveway, emaciated and injured, and collapsed onto the ground. Stella was on the brink of death, but managed to find just the right people to give her a fighting chance.

The family used what resources they had to get Stella back on her feet, then decided (wisely) that the home garage was no place for a 500-pound animal. In turn, we saw Stella's pictures and, knowing that there would be few options for her in Florida, agreed to let her come to Rooterville.

Rooterville Stella pig

We understood right away that Stella was a breeding sow from a commercial operation due to her age, her tags, and her missing tail. (On factory farms, they cut the pig’s tails off to prevent tail biting -- a disorder caused by stress in overcrowded pens and premature weaning.) It looked like Stella fell from a truck, which seems odd, but, in reality, happens more than people think. She had road rash on one side of her body, a deep wound on her shoulder, and injuries to the side of her face (which is still paralyzed). She was probably on her way to slaughter after living in a cage not much more than the size of her body for the four to five years in which she was used to produce piglets.

It was a little frightening at first -- a hog is a large and powerful animal, and we feared that Stella might injure the pot-bellied pigs who were only a small fraction of her size. However, in pig society, size is not everything; attitude counts, and Stella became at home in the herd.

A pig can live 20 or more years, but on factory farms, sows are “spent” (meaning they start to produce fewer piglets per litter) after three to five years ... that is, if they survive the stress of living in the horrifying conditions they are subjected to for that long. Many sows suffer from the stress and constant boredom of living in gestation crates, and they exhibit “coping” behaviors like suckling or bar biting or repetitive movements. (Remember, these are very clean, complex animals that some research suggests possess the intelligence of a three-year-old child.)

Stella, however, managed to escape a fate that so many do not. She still suffers the effects of her injuries (paralysis on one side of her face and partial vision in one eye), but these things have never slowed her down.

At this time (January of 2012), we believe that Stella is coming up on nine years of age. This is an extraordinary feat, as, from what we understand, farm sows rarely live to such an age. While Stella's remains spirited, energetic, and affectionate, she has developed a difficult skin condition that we have to care for every day in order to control. Still, we think Stella can have many more years with us.

You can sponsor Stella for only $15 a month, which will help to pay for her medications and treatment, as well as her food, hay, and treats.

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