Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Pig Preserve; A Contrast

It seems kind of ironic that the more we become connected the deeper the heartache. As I have been recollecting The Pig Preserve visit, I have received several messages from people bearing witness to truckloads of pigs being transported down the highway, to slaughter. A comment was waiting for me as I logged-in today, saying the hardest think about living in "Kentuckiana" is seeing the constant flow of  transport trucks full of pigs - and then seeing them go, empty. Everyday. Right here. In the middle of a major metropolitan area - Louisville, Ky - the self deemed; Compassionate City. I beg to differ this proclaimed title as I know my pig friends do too. I always wonder, how many people even notice their journey or much less consider their destination. (More on JBSwift Plant here)
The JBS hog-slaughtering plant slaughters around 10,000 hogs a day, six days a week.
Knowing this, visiting a place like The Pig Preserve seems like a foreign land. The Preserve is about 100 acres of land mixed with woods providing refuge for approximately 100 pigs. I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of weeks ago with Uplands PEAK board member, Kelly Cramer. On our arrival we were greeted by three of the resident dogs; Travis, Maxwell, and Big Brown Dog. Apparently, dogs and pigs can co-exist much like dogs and cats, with some monitoring.  One of the things that struck me was the mild manners of  the pigs. They seemed so content and relaxed. Of course, our visit was between meals, SO, we can't 100% attest to that always being the case.
Baby Bella 
 Rich, the owner, graciously took us around the property on his 4wheeler, while Bella, the piglet, ran along side. She stopped when we stopped checking the food bowls and testing the mud holes at each dwelling. Rich made the comment that she "was full of herself" that day. How could she not be, look at how darn cute she is!
 The Pig Preserve is unique in that they have the space to allow pigs to choose their own social group and dwelling. The traditional barn is near the house, there are more dwellings out in the woods, and near the big swimming hole. I would imagine that is why we didn't hear too much fussing that day, they have space. Space to choose how they want to spend their day and with whom. And most importantly, they can live in peace.
Of course, a sanctuary visit is not complete without a group cry! Rich shared stories of friendship and grieving. When Miss Fergy, the alpha female of the Preserve passed, all her friends came to pay respect to her body. He has witnessed pigs laying with a passed pigs friend body while crying. Yes, a pig crying over their deceased friend pig.
We have much to understand about these "gentle giants", as Rich often refers to them. But we also have to stop denying that their lives matter. That they enjoy being in nature. And that they to want to life as a pig should......
We are so grateful to Rich and his wife, Laura for all the time they took with us on our visit. But most importantly, all that they are doing for our pig friends.
Enjoying the woods
Dogs and Pigs CAN get along!


  1. The pink dot remind me of the concentration camps in Nazi Germany...this time, the whole world is guilty of war crimes.

    1. I completely agree with you. I am curious how many vegetarians live in "Butchertown" as they don't want the "stink" in their neighborhood.....