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.


slb said...

Bless all of you for working so hard to rescue these intelligent, beautiful non-human animals. I'm sorry for the deaths of all the pigs who were left behind to suffer. I hope the rescued pigs will find good homes and sanctuaries to spend their lives in. Thanks again for working so hard and in such awful conditions to save these babies.

margaret said...

Thank you so much for all your hard work. I wish I could be there doing the same thing. I am so sad for all the pigs who have died, but grateful that the ones you've saved will finally know compassion!

JACK said...

I sent the Farm Sanctuary web alert to several of my friends, hoping they will help with sending a few Dollars. I have donated money, and I will donate again for this cause. IFAW Is also one of the charities that I donate to. I was glad to see them helping with this rescue mission. Since joining Farm Sanctuary I do not eat pork anymore.