Peggy Sue and Nadine are two of the most adorable pigs you’ll ever lay eyes on. This bonded pair loves snuggling in hay in the winter and rolling in the mud on a hot summer day. But life would’ve have looked a lot differently for these pigs if they hadn’t been rescued by Catskill Animal Sanctuary, CAS, a few years back.
A Rough Beginning
As piglets, Peggy Sue and Nadine lived with two other pigs and were cared for by a kind woman. Unfortunately, this woman soon became unable to care for the pigs, so she arranged for them to be transferred to a sanctuary.
After visiting her beautiful girls, she noticed some unusual occurrences happening at the “sanctuary” where she sent her pigs. Animals were disappearing regularly and it became apparent that the sanctuary was more of a hoarding situation than an animal rescue.
“It is extremely common for people (well-intentioned and otherwise) to call themselves animal rescuers when in fact they are something else,” Kathy Stevens, Founder and Executive Director of CAS, explains to One Green Planet. “The place that these girls came from was spiraling out of control – compulsively taking in animals but unable to care for them, then letting animals loose to fend for themselves in the wild, starving others, killing others.”
Luckily, CAS was able to intervene and rescued Peggy Sue and Nadine.
Moving to a Real Sanctuary
It took seemingly no time at all for this pair of piggies to adjust to life at CAS. The sanctuary cares for almost 300 animals, so there were plenty of friendly faces ready to welcome Peggy Sue and Nadine into the fold.
“I also hope it’s fair to say that CAS breathes love. We constantly hear from visitors how peaceful, how joyful – disarmingly so – CAS is,” says Stevens. “Animals pick up on this – recoveries are remarkably quick! And pigs are so exceedingly bright and sensitive that it’s safe to say that they often walk down the ramp of their trailer, take a deep breath, look around … and realize they’re home.”
According to Stevens, these two get to do all the quintessential pig activities at CAS. They wallow in the mud, root in the soil, and enjoy a good nap! Nadine is particularly fond of human attention and gets plenty from the volunteers and visitors at Catskills.
Pig Ambassadors on a Mission to Change an Industry
Visitors at CAS get to meet and experience farm animals in a whole new light. Animals they may have previously only thought of as food now have faces and personalities. These animals become ambassadors for the countless others like them who are suffering in the animal agriculture industry. Peggy Sue and Nadine are two of these ambassadors, and adorable ones at that.
A replica of a gestation crate sits outside of Peggy Sue and Nadine’s house. The crate is two feet by seven feet and allows visitors to see and experience what sows in the agriculture industry must endure, day in and day out. These tiny dimensions force, otherwise incredibly clean animals to eat, sleep and relieve themselves all in the same area. They give birth to litter after litter of piglets and it is truly a life of misery. Seeing Peggy Sue and Nadine juxtaposed with this structure, visitors begin to make the connection between the cruelty that animals in this industry experience and the living, feeling creatures who suffer as a result.
“What we can learn not only from Nadine and Peggy Sue, but from any animal who was destined to be food but who by some good fortune landed elsewhere — we are all the same,” explains Stevens. “A pig is a dog is a whale is a human. We all want joy. We all seek to avoid pain and suffering. We all love. We all form friendships. We all care for our family. We are all deliciously, delightfully individual.”
We are sad to report that after many happy years at Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Peggy Sue passed away peacefully this winter, surrounded by those who loved her. The impact that this special pig has had on the many people who met her, however, will not be soon forgotten.
If you are interested in learning more about Catskill Animal Sanctuary or volunteering for this wonderful organization, visit their website here. If you want to donate or sponsor an animal, you can visit this link. These pigs are just two of the hundred of thousands of farm animals that need our support. If we all work together, we can start to change the animal agriculture industry.
All image source: Catskill Animal Sanctuary