Posted on Apr 04, 2019
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Pigs are genetically engineered to grow very big, very fast so they can be slaughtered at only six months old. When we save them and they grow till three like they’re supposed to, they end up abnormally huge at about a thousand pounds. This causes mobility issues and ultimately shortens their life spans from living twenty years like they’re meant to, to living only four or five years. Once they can no longer walk, their internal organs shut down, their muscles spasm, and we must help them out of their bodies. But they are young of mind and heart and very much wish to live and love more.
Our job as a sanctuary is to keep them comfortable and mobile for as long as we can and try to find ways to increase their longevity and quality of life. When we first started saving farm pigs in 1999 they would live till around four or five years of age. We went through many tearful farewells, none of us ready to part ways. With each rescue, our goal was to get the pig to live longer and better than his/her predecessor. We moved to a larger facility in 2003, giving them more exercise. That helped, but not enough. Then we started giving them Sun Chlorella Algae Super Food along with their organic fruits and veggies, and that helped so much that our pigs Biscuit and Bodhi lived till ten!
But we wanted more! So we recently added CBD pellets in our pigs' food. Our pig Zeus started gaining strength and mobility, coming out of his room more often during the day and was walking faster and stronger. His muscles used to strain and shake as he walked. Now he walks easily with no tremor and is getting up much more often during the day to drink, visit his friends, and enjoy the pool. With the combination of exercise, low-calorie pot belly pig food, organic fruits and vegetables, Sun Chlorella, and CBD our farm pig Zeus will be celebrating his twelfth birthday in April and is still rolling over for tummy rubs with a smile on his face!
We all know what it’s like to love and lose someone and wish we had more time with them. In sanctuaries, we’re starting at a disadvantage because our animals are all set up to fail from day one. We cannot reverse genetic engineering through diet or behavior. But we can give them support so that the effects of genetic engineering don’t take as much of a toll. Keeping them walking and feeling good, means more tummy rubs, more tail wags, more splashes in the pool, more happy grunts, more healing work with children with special needs, more days with their friend, and more time spent opening hearts and sharing their magic with the world. We are grateful for every single day we get with them and we take none of them for granted.
Zeus is the oldest pig in the history of The Gentle Barn. We don’t know if his twelfth birthday party will be his last, or if we’ll get to celebrate many more, but we’re going to have the biggest celebration for him on Sunday, April 21st from 10am to 2pm. Come sing happy birthday with us, give him and all his piggy friends cake, and dance the day away. If you live too far away to attend, perhaps you can sponsor one of our piggies!