Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Several more recent adoptions have seen a number of pigs to Florida – just in time to avoid the snow that’s now falling in Watkins Glen! When we arrived in the Sunshine State on Nov. 13, we made a first stop at the home of Farm Animal Adoption Network member Jennifer Sackett, to deliver her new friends, Charo, Charity, Maria, and Brooke.

Next, we travelled to Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Ocala, where Banshee and Sybil were greeted by lots of friendly faces who lovingly led them to a cozy shelter filled with fresh, clean straw. With a roomy pasture, new animal friends and lots of sunshine and loving care, we know they’ll always be happy in their beautiful new home. Check out these photos from Kindred Spirits Executive Director Laura Brahim showing their arrival.

Last but not least, we moved onward to Rooterville Sanctuary in Archer – a little piece of heaven on earth for pigs of all shapes and sizes. Among the lucky pigs who found themselves surrounded by lush green pasture, a shady oak hammock and tons of warm sand were our beloved LuLu, Pricilla, Olivia, and Papaya. Rooterville President Elaine West sent these great shots of the pigs enjoying their new Florida home.

Read more about the Florida sanctuary adoptions in this article on

And finally, one of the last scheduled adoptions took place not too long ago when Gomer, Felicia, Beverly, and Calypso arrived at their forever home with Farm Animal Adoption Network member Sarah Mann in Vermont. By all reports, these four incredible pigs are also doing very well and settling nicely into their new family life.

While the majority of the rescued Midwest pigs in need of adoption have been happily placed, we are still in urgent need of homes for two older sows, a mother sow and her five piglets (four girls and one boy), and two sweet younger female pigs. If you can help, please apply to join our Farm Animal Adoption Network today!

As we near a close to our Midwest Flood Pig Rescue Blog, we are also pleased to announce that we’ll be launching a whole new Farm Sanctuary shelter blog in the New Year. Stay tuned for information and where you can find us on the Web!

Monday, November 3, 2008

We are pleased to report on a few more happy endings that have recently unfolded for 10 of the Iowa pigs who traveled to their new adoptive homes over the past few weeks. On October 8, Gwen, Sweet Pea, Cherry, and seven other youngsters arrived at Lost Dog Ranch in Sumerduck, Virginia, where they have joined a whole family of other rescued animals. Lost Dog volunteer and former Farm Sanctuary intern, Sarah Barnett, sent along these great photos of her newest friends. Here they are having a ball, wallowing in the mud and running through the trees!

Ten more of the pigs, among them our beloved Rosebud and her seven growing piglets, reached the end of their cross country trek when they arrived at Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in beautiful Scio, Oregon on October 18. Read more about the adoption in an article from the Albany Democrat Herald, and see them on KEZI 9 ABC News. The pigs’ new guardian, Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary President Wayne Geiger, was also kind enough to send the photos below. With big tree-lined pastures to explore and thick mounds of straw to nest and rest in, these pigs couldn’t be happier!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It has been a busy October so far at our New York Shelter, where we are preparing to see many of the Iowa pigs off to their new homes across the country. Already this month, we’ve had three east coast adoptions take place, and it’s off to the west coast next week!

Mango and Angelie were the first to go to their forever home, a pig sanctuary called Tusk and Bristle in Constantia, New York. By all reports from their new mom, Carol, and as you can see from the photos below, they’ve settled right in and are already having tons of fun. Who knew the mud in Constantia would be so luxurious?

Harriet and Ice were the next two to be adopted and traveled to Connecticut to become part of a happy family at Lockets Meadow Farm. They are so active, and enjoying their new surroundings so much, that their new mom, Kathleen, had trouble even taking their photos, but here you can see from their smiling faces that they are already fitting right in.

The biggest adoption, a group of 15 pigs which included Charlie, Jeremy, Love Bug, and all their friends, took place yesterday at PIGS Animal Sanctuary in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where Charlie and company joined hundreds of other pigs all of all shapes and sizes. Photos of them in their new home are below. Look at all that glorious pasture!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

As the leaves change and autumn rolls in, we’re still “pig crazy” here at our New York Shelter – our efforts rehabilitating the Iowa pigs and planning for their futures continue at a steady pace. For many of the pigs, the months ahead will see them off to loving, forever homes throughout the country, so stay tuned for more details about their travels and experiences!

And speaking of autumn and pigs … we want to invite you to join us for our Party for the Pigs on October 18 in Washington, D.C. A benefit to honor the Midwest flood survivors and raise the critical funds we need to cover the costs of their rescue, daily care, rehabilitation, and nationwide placement, this party is the must-attend charity event of the season. Here are some highlights:

*Special guest appearances include: Farm Sanctuary President and Co-founder Gene Baur, actress Persia White and musician Nellie McKay

*Musical performance by singer/songwriter and Broadway actress, Nellie McKay

*Beer and wine bar and vegan hors d’oeuvres from some of D.C.’s best restaurants

*Silent auction of exciting farm animal-inspired items

Get more details and RSVP to reserve your space by calling 607-583-2225 ext. 221 or visiting our Party for the Pigs Web site. If you can’t attend, but would still like to support the pigs, please make a donation today. Thank you for making a difference for farm animals. We hope to see you in D.C.!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

These new little piglet photos are too cute not to share. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our work with the pigs in the weeks since three of the pregnant sows rescued from the Midwest floods gave birth has kept us in a state of emotional flux. The most devastating news we have to report involves Mango – one of the mothers who gave birth last month. Like the other flood survivors, she had suffered immensely prior to rescue, and in the end, the ordeal proved fatal for her babies. Her little ones were nearly four weeks premature, their tiny lungs underdeveloped, and despite the intensive care they received here and at Cornell University’s Veterinary Hospital, they tragically passed away.

Though the loss of these precious lives hit us hard, no one was affected more profoundly than Mango. Like Faith, a sow who gave birth during the flood and then lost her piglets on the Iowa levee, Mango grieved, falling into depression, losing weight and pacing next to the stall where she had once cared for her babies. We are thankful to share the news, however, that she has since found comfort in an old friend, a young pig she bonded with during her time on the levee, and the two have picked up right where they left off, spending each moment together as surrogate mother and child.

Above: Mango and her young pig friend, prior to rescue, on the Iowa levee.

The other new mothers, Mabel and Rosebud, have also had their share of sorrow, as some of their babies were too small and sickly to make it through their first days of life. Happily, both continue to care for seven babies each while we monitor them closely, watching for signs of illness or distress. The love between the sows and piglets that we witness during our observations is remarkable, especially in the moments after the piglets wake from naps and run to reach their mothers’ faces, grunting excitedly into their ears as if to say, “thank goodness you’re still here!” One of Rosebud’s babies, Pepper, is so thrilled to see his mother when he wakes that he sticks his entire nose into her ear.

Above: Rosebud chats with two babies who are checking in after waking from a nap.

And then, of course, there is Nikki – the mother sow who gave birth on the levee and risked everything to keep her babies alive. She and her pleasantly plump, very muddy and deliriously happy little family have been a constant source of joy through all the trials we’ve faced in caring for the flood survivors. That’s not to say, however, that Nikki hasn’t done her part to keep us on our toes! Just the other day, as we performed health checks on the piglets in a treatment stall, Nikki ran to the gate and, within moments, skillfully and unapologetically removed it from its hinges so she could check in with each baby and ensure they were okay. Nothing, and we mean nothing, keeps this family apart.

Above: Nikki with her piglets following close behind!

After having the honor of knowing these sows, it is painful to think about what their lives were like at the factory farms they only narrowly escaped when the Mississippi River overflowed. But we must think about it because Mango, Rosebud, Nikki, and all the other bright, passionate, loving, and sensitive gestation sows rescued in Iowa are not anomalies in their ability to feel so deeply, and they need us to tell their full stories and show the world what is at stake when factory farms treat sentient creatures like commodities.

Every day on factory farms, sows like Nikki and the rest are confined inside 2-foot-wide gestation crates with concrete floors. They cannot turn around, or lie down comfortably. In fact, they can barely move. They are artificially inseminated by hog industry workers and left alone in solitary confinement to carry their babies for a term of 114 days. After giving birth to up to 17 piglets, a number that the pork industry continually pushes to increase, they nurse their babies through the bars of farrowing crates, minimally larger than gestation crates, unable to touch their newborns – let alone experience the kind of tender moments with them that we’ve seen here. After 10 days, the sows’ babies are torn away from them while they watch helplessly, and the cruel cycle begins again. These sows are treated as nothing more than piglet breeding machines.

Above: Gestation sows endure immense suffering on factory farms.

This life of misery drives gestation sows to madness – the evidence of which we have seen among the rescued Iowa pigs who spent entire days upon arrival here neurotically rubbing their noses against their feed bowls. Nearly all of them, in fact, are missing front teeth, presumably from their days of biting on metal bars. While this behavior has ceased with long days outdoors, play sessions, wallow time in mud holes, and affection from one another, these pigs will still chew on wooden slats if they are temporarily restricted to a stall for medical treatment – their time on factory farms lingering despite their freedom.

Above: A rescued sow runs and kicks up her heels in the pasture.

As Californians gear up to vote YES! on Prop 2, an initiative that would ban the use of gestation crates for breeding sows, as well as veal crates for calves and battery cages for egg-laying hens, in the nation’s largest agricultural state, people across the country have an opportunity to reduce animal suffering, as well. With only 68 days to garner public support and secure endorsements before the November 4 vote, we urge you to join the YES! on Prop 2 campaign and be a part of this historical effort. No matter where you live, you can help protect 20 million animals from the worst factory farming abuses. Learn how at

Please also join us in sharing the stories of Mango, Nikki and the other rescued pigs with the world and educate your friends and family about the many reasons to embrace a cruelty-free lifestyle and go vegan. Find more resources today at

Above: A rescued sow soaks up the sun while bathing in her water tub.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Since a number of the surviving sows we found on the Oakville, Iowa levee were already in late term pregnancy at the time of their rescue, we have experienced several piglet births at Farm Sanctuary this week – the very first to ever occur at our New York Shelter. A rarity in our work as we take measures to prevent breeding among shelter residents so we can always focus our efforts on animals in the most desperate need of our help, the births have been quite a new experience for us all.

Around noon on Wednesday, a third sow in late term pregnancy, Mabel, gave birth to 10piglets. See below for photos of the happy mom and our newest additions. As the newborns have raised the number of pigs in care from this rescue, we are still in urgent need of donations to cover the costs of their feed, housing and medical care. We are also searching for loving adoptive homes for pigs, as well as volunteers to assist us with shelter work in Watkins Glen. If you can help, please call 607-583-2225. Contributions can be made by clicking on the donate box to the right of the blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday afternoon, the first of the pregnant sows, Rosebud, welcomed eight tiny piglets into the world! An event that lasted about 2 ½ hours, this emotional first birth culminated in the safe delivery of a breech baby who was born at 6 p.m. One of the smallest piglets in the litter was too weak to nurse on his own. He was bottle- fed vital colostrum from his mother and then taken to a veterinary hospital for postnatal care. Meanwhile, caregivers here kept vigil by Rosebud’s side, watching over her fragile babies who – due to all their mother had been through – are premature and require our constant attention.

As we cared for Rosebud and doted on her little ones, another pregnant sow, Mango, was settling into a birthing hut out in the pasture, and at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, she too gave birth to eight beautiful girls and boys! One of Mango’s babies was also smaller and weaker than the rest of her litter and was taken to the hospital to join Rosebud’s baby yesterday afternoon. Happily, these two remain stable, but will stay in intensive care until it is safer to bring them back home.

Today, all of the other 14 piglets are nursing steadily and gaining strength, taking their first adventurous steps, resting close to their siblings for comfort and warmth, and being lulled to sleep by their mothers’ soothing chatter. No longer imprisoned by the bars of a factory farm gestation crate and denied the chance to nurture and protect their babies, Rosebud and Mango are extremely affectionate and visibly thrilled with the new piglets –all of whom they now lovingly care for in the ways that they freely choose.

With 16 new babies in our care and many more pregnant sows about to give birth, our work in the Emergency Rescue & Rehabilitation Center nursery has only just begun. Already, caregivers are stationed next to the mothers 24 hours a day so we can respond immediately to any complications that may arise. Though our population and responsibilities grow so do the joys of seeing these pigs thrive. As we embark on this whole new journey in our efforts to give a second chance to the flood survivors, join us in celebrating the births and watch the slideshow below!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Watch our latest video on the Midwest Flood Pig Rescue!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

With all the pigs now at our New York Shelter, we have never been busier! After putting an urgent call out for volunteers last week, we have so far gotten a great response and, thanks to the compassion of animal advocates across the nation, are further on our way to securing the onsite help we need to carry out this massive rehabilitative effort.

Right now, the more than 60 special needs pigs saved from the floods are receiving the critical care, treatments and surgeries they need to recover, and between hospital visits, veterinary exams and daily health checks are settling into the routine of sanctuary life. Anticipating twice-a-day feedings, taking restorative naps in mounds of straw, and reveling in the spray of garden hose “showers,” the pigs, little by little, are also learning to trust from the caregivers and volunteers who lovingly tend to their every need.

Happily, the pigs who are well enough to explore are also enjoying the outdoors. These days, it’s nearly impossible to stop by the shelter and not see pink everywhere – speckling the landscape as pigs root in the dirt, wallow in luxurious mud pits, nibble on green vegetation, or just relax among the wildflowers. Never before have our Emergency Rescue & Rehabilitation Center pastures revealed to the world such a remarkable sight!

Enjoy the following slideshow of the pigs loving their outdoor freedom on the farm, and stay tuned for more to come on the brave individuals rescued from the floods. And, if you can take part in this incredible effort by becoming a volunteer caregiver or shelter intern at our New York Shelter, or opening your home to rescued pigs, please call 607-583-2225 or visit Lifesaving donations to our Emergency Rescue Fund can also be made with a quick click on the donate button found on right hand side of the blog. As we continue this work, we need you more now than ever before!

Friday, July 11, 2008

After having made the more than 15-hour trip from Iowa to New York, the remaining survivors from the “Big Ditch” levee arrived at Farm Sanctuary at 10 p.m. last night. The first trailer, driven by Susie Coston and Dan D’Eramo, was unloaded first – among its extremely precious passengers a mother sow, who gave birth in the flood zone, and her seven perfect little piglets. Prior to hitting the road, Dan and Susie put the piglets in a carrier next to their mother to keep them secure for travel and planned to stop every two hours so the little ones could nurse. But mama sow had other plans. Within the hour, she proved she could do the job better by skillfully dismantling the carrier, gathering her babies around her, and keeping them tucked in the straw near her belly for the rest of the trip.

A second even larger trailer leading the way to Watkins Glen held nearly everyone else, and the unloading of it upon arrival at the sanctuary resulted in a stunning parade of 40 plus beautiful pigs who filed off the truck in an orderly fashion, two-by-two and three-by-three, as soon as the doors swung open. Greeted immediately by new Farm Sanctuary friends and caregivers as they entered our Emergency Rescue & Rehabilitation Center, the pigs wasted no time exploring and diving into generous offerings of fresh herbs, carrots and watermelon before piling up together and settling into mounds of straw for sleep.

With all these amazing animals suddenly coming to our New York Shelter, the sanctuary still buzzes today with excitement and activity. Now begins the tasks of establishing feeding schedules and healthcare routines, closely watching over pregnant sows, keeping vigil by the sides of the injured and sick, and showing these incredible survivors of factory farm and flood the ways of being free. Stay tuned for lots more news to come, and see a slideshow of last night’s arrival below!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

During a massive rescue effort last Thursday, 22 more pigs, some located about 12 miles down the Oakville “Big Ditch” levee were rescued by our incredible, and now very seasoned, coalition team members. After having perfected the technique of securing stranded pigs with the help of Farm Sanctuary staff, Chuck Pappas and Dan D’Eramo, the crew built a makeshift corral with plastic panels and zip ties, skillfully herding the most tenacious survivors inside. After as many as possible were safely penned before dark, the large group was then transported off the levee in a trailer pulled by a tractor – another vital piece of equipment secured through the efforts of Farm Sanctuary crew member, Julie Janovsky, who has been in charge of logistics for the entire operation. Filling another long day in the field, the rescue was exhausting for the team, but well worth every ounce of stamina as it resulted in the majority of the remaining live pigs on the levee being saved.

The following day, Friday, July 4, 10 more pigs – the very last of the “Big Ditch Levee” survivors, as well as a few others from around Oakville – were rescued, raising the number of pigs in our care in Iowa to 54, and the total of pigs rescued (including 12 already at our New York Shelter and another from Illinois recently adopted into a loving, permanent home) to 69! Among the rescued pigs are at least 10 sows who have viable late-term pregnancies – which means we may be welcoming dozens of piglets into the world in the days to come.

A number of the most recently rescued pigs, those who’ve been hiding out on the levee the longest, are in rough shape – at least eight of the pigs are extremely emaciated, several are gravely ill, and most have very severe sunburn on their ears and backs. All are underweight and very, very scared. Under the care of National Shelter Director Susie Coston, who has made a triage of the Iowa holding area, these pigs are receiving emergency care, but the road to rehabilitation will be very long and hard for many.

Despite all they’ve been through, some pigs, like one Susie affectionately dubbed “Doctor,” have already managed to come out of their shells. “We started calling this sweet boy ‘Doctor’ because he always follows us around when we’re doing health care on the pigs and talks into their ears, as if he’s asking what’s wrong and how he can help,” said Susie. “He’s really good at making people feel better, as well. When I’m exhausted and lay on the ground to rest, he’ll come and lie across my body and talk in my ear, too. He really keeps me going.” The humor, beauty and love that already radiates from these pigs is life-affirming, and we are overjoyed that we have the honor of knowing them and helping them move toward a future where they can really shine.

As this monumental rescue quickly grows into the most expensive operation ever undertaken by Farm Sanctuary, we are in more need now than ever before of support from our members. If you would like to make a gift to provide healthcare and transport back to our New York Shelter for the pigs, please visit or give us a call at 607-583-2225 ext. 221 today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

As our rescue mission continues in Oakville, Iowa we wanted to give you a glimpse into the incredible efforts of the crew on the ground by sharing this video from one of our coalition partners, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), narrated by Dick Green – IFAW disaster relief manager and the incident commander of our team. Watch out for Farm Sanctuary’s very own Chuck Pappas and Dan D’Eramo, as they work with IFAW, AHA, and ARL-Boston workers to secure and load stranded pigs onto a trailer for transport off the levee!

Help Farm Sanctuary continue our rescue efforts in the Midwest by making a donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund at or by calling 607-583-2225. Or, if you or someone you know can adopt a rescued pig into your home, please contact or 607-583-2225 ext. 223.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Twelve pigs arrived at our Watkins Glen shelter at about 6 p.m. last night to an emotional welcome by relieved Farm Sanctuary staff and interns who helped unload the pigs and guide them to the straw piles, cool fans, and plentiful food and water that awaited them in our Rescue and Refuge Barn. Many of the pigs surprised us by walking right off the truck – as easily they walked on. A few of the youngsters at the end of the line needed a little more coaxing, but eventually followed our lead with the promise of yummy food. One of the girls, who has pneumonia, had to be carried to a quiet resting area by two of our staff, and was settled in right away and comforted by New York shelter manager, Jessica Parry. (See a slideshow of the pigs' arrival at Farm Sanctuary at the end of this post.)

Once they were all gently herded into a cozy area of the barn and had a chance to rest, all of the pigs were checked over by our caregivers and their immediate medical needs were assessed. Though the pigs were in worse shape than our caregivers expected, most of them are stable and settling quite nicely into their new environment. Despite all she’s been through, one of the older sows, in fact, has already shown herself to be extremely outgoing and playful and is quickly becoming known around the farm for her skill in untying peoples’ shoe laces. Not quite as lucky as the others, two of the pigs, the girl with pneumonia and another little one with an injured leg, were taken to Cornell University’s Veterinary Hospital first thing this morning so that they could receive the urgent care they need. Right now, their condition is very critical, but we will work with vets to do all we can to see them through this ordeal and give them the beautiful life they deserve.

On the ground in Iowa, the tireless rescue coalition of Farm Sanctuary, IFAW, AHA, and ARL-Boston brought eight more pigs off the levee last night. Efforts to save more animals continue with full force today. Thankfully, the pigs who came off the levee last night, a group made up of two adults and six youngsters, are eating and drinking well and seem to be in relatively good health. These pigs - and the 16 others awaiting transport from Iowa to Farm Sanctuary - are today being administered antibiotics for treatment of pneumonia and foot infections, as well as treated for sunburn with skin ointment typically used on burn victims (a treatment, happily, that has been working very well in bringing relief to the pigs). The mother of the seven piglets the crew rescued on Monday is also receiving vitamin shots, as nursing her little ones has drained her and she is very thin. Still, this brave, devoted mother provides her babies with the very best care and we are doing all we can to help her continue nurturing them as she has up until her rescue.

Sadly, two of the sows rescued earlier in the mission are not doing as well as the others, and despite our exhaustive attempts to treat them, we know now that they may not be able to beat the life-threatening infections they are battling. The other mother sow who was rescued Monday, but who had lost all of her babies, is in deep mourning - still crying out for her little ones, and we are very worried about her and wish we could ease her pain. Though these sad reports weigh heavily on our hearts, the animals’ inspiring will to survive carries us onward and keeps giving everyone hope. Freed from the rigors of factory farming and saved from the floods, these rescued souls express palpable joy even through their suffering, and we can see it in their eyes growing brighter by the hour.

We are now in urgent need of adoptive homes for the rescued pigs. If you are able to open your heart and home to a pig in desperate need of a second chance at life, please contact us now at 607-583-2225 ext. 223 or

If you are unable to adopt a pig into your home, please consider making a lifesaving donation to our Emergency Rescue Fund, which is already hard at work funding this critical rescue operation and providing aid to pigs and other farm animals in need. Please donate today by visiting or by calling 607-583-2225.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The first group of pigs to come home to our New York Shelter left Oakville, Iowa yesterday at 4 p.m. and are expected to arrive in Watkins Glen any hour now. We are very pleased to report that most of these pigs walked right up to and into the transport trailer with ease despite injuries, illness and exhaustion – almost as if they knew they were going to a better place. Moments like this reveal just how much determination these brave animals have, and their courage continues to astound us every day.

We are also very happy to report that the rescue coalition of Farm Sanctuary, IFAW, AHA, and ARL-Boston saved 13 more pigs yesterday, which brings the total number of pigs rescued so far to 28. Among the 13, we have one mother and seven piglets - all of whom were born within the past week. The mother and her babies are doing quite well, and the piglets are the cutest we've ever seen! Prior to their rescue, the mother had built two nests for her babies in the field and already taught them how to hide from strangers. The pigs are voracious eaters and the mother, although naturally protective, has been kind to her rescuers, allowing them to admire her little ones. The crew really needed this success, and bringing these babies and their mother to safety has raised everyone's spirits.

With that said, we also have some sad news to report pertaining to the other five sows the rescue team saved yesterday. One of the mothers was found guarding a barn door and when the crew walked into the building they saw that none of her babies had made it. Another sow has an abscess on her foot that appears to have moved into her joint, creating a very serious health situation that we will need to monitor closely. We will do everything we can to save her, but it will be an uphill battle.

In other news, our national shelter director, Susie Coston, has arrived on the scene to oversee the care and transport of rescued pigs; in Susie’s loving and expert hands, the pigs have found their best hope for a new life. Farm Sanctuary is incredibly proud of our entire team, as they’ve worked tirelessly and against great odds to save so many animals. The team includes chief rescue and investigations officer, Dan D’Eramo, and shelter project coordinator, Chuck Pappas, both of whom have been in the flooded region since June 20, lending their invaluable skills and ingenuous strategies for catching and containing pigs during rescues; our campaigns director, Julie Janovsky, who has been instrumental to the entire mission by using her expertise in disaster response to help bring the rescue coalition together and coordinate efforts with local authorities; and communications director, Tricia Barry, who is sharing the pigs’ story with the nation. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them and everyone else on this critical rescue operation.

Piglets prior to rescue hiding in the nest their mother built. Photo Credit: IFAW -

Please keep scrolling for more photos and a slideshow below.

Monday, June 30, 2008

It was an emotional and treacherous weekend for our rescue team on the ground in Iowa as they continued to persevere in their efforts to aid pigs stranded on a levee in Oakville, as well as respond to reports of pigs on the loose in and around the town. Given high winds, we were unable to approach the levee via boats, so we shifted our strategy to land access points. On Saturday, the rescue coalition of Farm Sanctuary, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), American Humane Association (AHA), and Animal Rescue League of Boston rescued two pigs - a mother sow and a young pig who is estimated to be about two- to three-months-old. The vet on site helping with the animals determined that the piglet was not the sow’s own, but nonetheless, they had adopted one another and remain inseparable at our holding area where they are being cared for by the groups. Despite all these two pigs had been through, they are in relatively good shape. Both, however, are so badly sunburned that their skin is actually charred black and peeling off, but they are eating and drinking and starting to perk up.

On Sunday, the groups rescued five more pigs (making a total of 15 saved so far in the Oakville area). We believe that these pigs are youngsters (anywhere from two- to five-months-old based on size). They were in much worse shape than the two brought in the day before, as they were extremely thin and literally starving. One poor pig is so skinny and badly sunburned that the skin over her backbone appears to be completely lifted on either side of her spine. When we first pulled these pigs out of the crates at the temporary holding area, we weren’t sure if they were even going to have the strength to eat. Luckily, they did start eating and drinking and even perked up a little after receiving nourishment. The exhausted pigs gravitated toward each other and piled up together for comfort and warmth, bonding immediately in the moments after their rescue.

Sadly, while out in the field yesterday, we were forced to euthanize two pigs who were in such poor shape we could not save them — a sad reality that we are facing daily, as the floods have left dead and dying pigs everywhere. The USDA initiated recovery efforts of the thousands of pig carcasses from the region’s hog farms and we’ve watched mournfully as truck loads of them have come off the river and the levees. Our team is physically and mentally exhausted from this experience, but we are fueled by each successful rescue and committed to continuing our mission for as long as we possibly can to ensure we can get as many surviving pigs as possible and bring them to safety.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Safe at last, one of the pigs rests in our trailer after rescue.

Having finally received approval from the state of Iowa to enter the Oakville area, Farm Sanctuary’s emergency rescue team (along with IFAW, AHA and ARL) was able to head out on the water this morning to assess the situation on a 16 to 20 mile stretch of levee where an indeterminate number of pigs are stranded. On this mission, the rescue coalition will search for the pigs and bring them food. We still don’t know what we will find out there, or what condition the pigs will be in, but we remain hopeful and will do everything we can to bring any survivors safely home. Meanwhile, we are happy to report that we have rescued more pigs in and around the town of Oakville, making a total of eight beautiful pigs now in our custody. All of the animals were severely dehydrated and are badly sunburned, others are injured and sick, but volunteers are now working to keep them comfortable and safe until they make the trip back to our New York Shelter. They will arrive on Monday! We also have another lucky pig in our custody in Illinois and we hope to see her to sanctuary soon, too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Since arriving in the flooded region late last week, Farm Sanctuary's emergency rescue team has worked closely with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the American Humane Association (AHA) to see to the aid of stranded farm animals throughout the region. We now have confimation by state officials to undertake a massive rescue effort in Iowa to recover as many pigs as possible from the Oakville area of Lousa County and northern Des Moines County, and to provide these animals with emergency care and safe refuge. Last night, our rescue team came to the aid of four pigs who are now out of the danger zone and awaiting veterinary inspection. We will continue to keep you updated on our efforts to save as many of the survivors as we can.

Photos Courtesy of Molly Wald and Best Friends Animal Society <>.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Farm Sanctuary is doing everything we can to gain access to the affected areas, and we have dispatched a rescue team and transport truck to the region. Others are on stand-by to take immediate action, as needed.

We have submitted a formal request for access to the affected areas to coordinate rescue efforts for livestock. We are currently awaiting permission from local officials to enter the region. Unfortunately, given current laws, gaining access to rescue food animals has proven incredibly challenging. Oftentimes, farm animals are returned to their owners without question. We hope to rescue farm animals in the region and ensure they are brought to sanctuary.

Sadly, the reports of law enforcement officers shooting pigs on the levies have been confirmed. Given the circumstances, the killing of these pigs is considered legal. However, we are looking into this case further.

If you want to help, the best thing you can do right now is support our Emergency Rescue Fund. Donations to the Emergency Rescue Fund enable us to respond to suffering farm animals immediately whenever a natural disaster strikes, or when we receive cruelty reports. We can't do it without you. Your contribution to the Emergency Rescue Fund today is greatly appreciated, and will directly save lives and end suffering. To make a donation to the Emergency Rescue Fund, you can call 607-583-2225 ext. 221, click here to make a donation using our secure online form, or mail payment to: Farm Sanctuary, PO Box 150, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

We will keep you posted on progress as new information comes to light.

Photos Courtesy of Molly Wald and Best Friends Animal Society <>.