Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Pig found loose near perimeter sent to slaughter before activists could buy her

June 4, 2015 Ashley Prest, Winnipeg Free Press

In the end, there was no mercy for Mercy the pig. The sow was found loose in a field near the Perimeter Highway last Friday and named Mercy by local animal activists who hoped to save her from slaughter and instead buy her and move her to a nearby animal sanctuary in Ontario. But it appears Mercy was slaughtered before she could be saved.

Between Friday and Tuesday, Charlotte Sigurdson and other local animal activists had raised about $2,400 in pledges in a GoFundMe online fundraising campaign to buy the pig. Jenna Vandal and others had started a petition, up to nearly 5,000 signatures Wednesday afternoon, calling for the Manitoba Pork Council "to allow the pig to be purchased by animal advocates."

"I have a contact that told me Mercy was sent out first thing Monday morning for processing in the U.S. So she was slaughtered and we didnít even get a chance to buy her," Sigurdson said in a telephone interview, her voice breaking from emotion. "They never intended to negotiate with us. They told us she wouldnít be harmed until we at least had a chance to work on it and that wasnít true at all. There was never any possibility."

Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson said thatís because the council was not involved with what happened to the pig and that it was the pigís owner who decided her fate. The Councilís role is regulatory, he said.

"I understand these people (advocates) are very frustrated and now theyíre angry at us (Manitoba Pork Council) because we didnít sell them the pig but we donít own animals," Dickson said. "The farmers, itís their animals and they market them according to the rules."

He said the pig had been examined by a veterinarian with the provinceís Chief Veterinary Office at the site where the pig had been found. After the pigís owner was identified through her ear tag, the CVO received instructions from her owner and transported the pig directly from the site to an assembly yard. He said when the CVO became involved, the Council was out of the picture.

Sigurdson said Pork Council employees lied to advocates, saying the pig was "being looked after on a local farm" to recover from her ordeal, but she was actually already in the queue for slaughter.

Dickson said privacy laws prohibit the Council from giving out information about pig ownership, locations or destinations, except to the CVO. He said a Pork Council employee interviewed Friday on television said the pig was going to a farm because thatís what would have been done if the owner could not be found.

"After the (TV) crew left, we were able to track down who owned the animal, contact the owner and he indicated he wanted the animal taken to a livestock assembly yard where it was to be marketed from that place," he said. "As far as we were concerned, that was the end of the story. We didnít take it to the farm because we didnít take it anywhere."

There is a nefarious angle to the story. Several animal advocates told the Free Press they had been contacted at their workplaces by a Pork Council employee who made "false accusations against them" and "tried to get them in trouble." Dickson said the employee had called back some of the advocates who had left messages or emailed but "it wasnít intentional to cause embarrassment" but "to tell them what happened" to the pig.

One woman told Free Press she had spoken to two council employees "in the nicest, most respectful way" but was later called into her supervisorís office. Her supervisor told her a Council employee said she was "harassing" him. "I donít know why he wasted all that time phoning around when he could have just phoned the farmer and let us buy the pig at market value," she said.

Dickson said many advocates calling the Council office used "abusive" language. He said the Council received "over 600 emails from across North America," more than 150 phone calls and has shut down its Facebook page and Twitter feed because of the number of inflammatory postings.

Dickson said, while it is unusual for a pig to escape or fall out while being transported, advocates could place an ad on the Manitoba Pork Council website in the classifieds section stating that they would be interested in purchasing a pig.

Sigurdson said she plans to donate the funds collected for Mercy to the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, named after Esther the Wonder Pig who lives there with her caregivers and sanctuary owners Steve Jenkins and Derek Walters. Those who want their money back are asked to contact Sigurdson through her business Facebook account Hogwash Bath and Body. She said no one yet has asked for a refund.

Comment: We were among the many who contacted various agencies and the media regarding this news story. It speaks volumes as to this heartless industry. Animals are viewed as commodities and nothing more. As they are regarded as property under the law, they donít have rights. Itís up to us to take action on their behalf. You can boycott, stage demonstrations, contact politicians, write the media, and avoid animal products. Spread the word!  

Read more: Shocking cases of animal cruelty by Manitoba pig producers; taking action; government bailouts; PED kills millions, MB Pork Council; vigils at Fearmans Pork, ON; trial for woman giving pigs water; not guilty!; 2019 Excelsior Hog Farm, Abbotsford stormed by activists; 2022 trial begins; 2023 Excelsior exposed again

Be sure to visit our Websites/Articles page to see some of the organizations working to make our world a better place for animals.

Justice for animals is the social movement of our times and we must all participate to make it a reality. Itís long overdue. Carmina Gooch

The cruelty and torture inflicted upon defenseless animals is an aberration of justice and a violation of the innocent at its core.  Sometimes one has to go to jail to make the world a better place.