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.

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