Presenting Anna & Maybelle

Tracey Stewart with adopted pigs Anna & Maybelle

Tracey Stewart with adopted piglets Anna & Maybelle

Life doesn’t get much better for a pig than it is for Anna and Maybelle. Their adoptive mom is animal activist and Do Unto Animals author Tracey Stewart. Dad is none other than Jon Stewart, former host of “The Daily Show.” Their new parents make sure they have plenty of fresh straw to nest in, a spacious pasture to run and play, and healthy food to eat — even spoiling them with the occasional treat. Tracey, Jon, and their two children treat Anna and Maybelle like a part of the family — and they are quickly becoming just that.

How did two pigs who were just months ago destined for slaughter become part of the Stewart clan? Sit tight, because it was a long journey to this happy ending.

Rescue from the Roadside

When an animal activist named Julie Robertson gazed out of her window while driving a busy road in Georgia, she was certainly not expecting to see two rogue piglets trotting along the highway. But that is exactly what she saw in the summer of 2015, when she first spotted Anna and Maybelle. The piglets were visibly terrified, confused, and exhausted. Anna was limping along with an injured leg, and Maybelle’s infected eye didn’t make their journey any easier. It was clear that these two little pigs needed to get to safety —  and fast!

Rescue piglets

Maybelle and Anna shortly after their rescue from a roadside.

Anna and Maybelle were so frightened that it took Julie two days to catch them. Eventually, the girls were so hungry that they allowed Julie to coax them into a crate with treats and whisk them to safety. When the pair arrived at her house to a nest made out of blankets. Finally safe, the little pigs were so worn out from their ordeal that they headed straight for the cozy pile and were snoring almost instantly.

Where did they come from?

We can only guess based on past rescues, but we believe Anna and Maybelle fell from a transport truck. Piglets are notorious for squirming their way out of trailers, sometimes falling onto the highway without the driver even noticing. Such a fall can be fatal for young animals, but these two tough girls avoided serious injury, and managed to stay out of oncoming traffic. Most importantly, they managed to stay together, which helped them both survive their scary ordeal.

Anna & Maybelle piglets

Anna and Maybelle love exploring their world together!

If they had remained on the truck, the piglets likely would have been heading to a stockyard, where animals are bought and sold. There, piglets are sold to “finishing operations,” where they are raised until they are just six months old and then sent to slaughter.

Fortunately Anna and Maybelle narrowly escaped this sad fate, and now they will live out their lives splashing in puddles, squealing with joy, and rooting like pigs should!

Becoming the Newest Stewarts

When Farm Sanctuary first heard about Anna and Maybelle, we immediately offered them a home at our rescued animal shelter in New York. And that is where they met the Stewarts.

Anna and Maybelle’s story captured the hearts of Jon and Tracey upon first meeting while they were on a tour of the sanctuary. And soon they had a place not only in their hearts, but in their home!

Tracey Stewart with adopted pigs Maybelle and Anna

Tracey with Maybelle and Anna.

“Anna and Maybelle are a parent’s dream,” says Tracey. “They are cuddly, playful and supportive of one another. They are generous — always willing to offer up their bellies for rubs when you need it.”

And now the real journey begins.

As they regain their health, Anna and Maybelle’s unique personalities are starting to emerge. The friends, possibly sisters, are closely bonded. The girls take great comfort in each other, just as they have since their frightening two days on the roadside.

Each day they are learning to live like piglets: playing, exploring, and even chasing the Stewarts’ two children around the pasture, to everyone’s delight. We can only imagine the bright future and fun that lies ahead for these two pigs lucky enough to be rescued — and by the Stewart family, no less!

Everyone who has met Anna and Maybelle is simply squealing with delight as we watch these “PFFs” (pig friends forever) grow into their personalities. Follow Anna and Maybelle’s journey at The Daily Squeal!

Anna and Maybelle piglets

Anna & Maybelle, PFFs!

Rescue reunion: 10 years later, rescuers visit the pig they helped save

Truffles pig and rescuer

Truffles pig and Denise, who helped rescue her, meet again at Farm Sanctuary.

By Susie Coston, National Shelter Director

Truffles pig is a testament of the healing power of love. This wonderful pig, a favorite of many Farm Sanctuary visitors, will be ten this year — an incredible feat considering her origins. She was raised to live to just six months of age, by which time she would have been slaughtered for meat. Instead, nearly a decade later, she is the matriarch of her sounder, loved and respected both by her fellow pigs and her human friends at our New York Shelter.

During her first few weeks of life, Truffles was removed from her mother and subjected to tail docking without pain relief, both standard procedures on factory farms. Confused and frightened, she was then packed onto a hot and crowded transport truck to travel to a finishing farm, where piglets are fattened for slaughter. Her escape from this fate was fortunate, but not without additional hardships. She fell off of a truck into heavy traffic on Interstate 69 in Indiana, and was bruised and bloody from the fall.

Truffles piglet

Truffles as a piglet at Farm Sanctuary

Fortunately, luck and love were on her side. A young woman was driving in the opposite direction on the way to a concert when she saw Truffles fall and knew that she had to save her. She reached Truffles before any cars could hit her and brought the piglet to her car, where she placed her on a blanket in the back seat. For the first time in her short life, Truffles was safe — and she was on her way to a new life. Continue reading

Videos: Be inspired by these leaders in the animal protection movement

Farm Sanctuary's 2015 Hoe Down

On August 15 and 16, hundreds of animal advocates converged on Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen Shelter for our 2015 Hoe Down. The Hoe Down holds an important place in Farm Sanctuary’s nearly 30-year history, and we think this year’s event was our best yet!

Our speakers focused on topics ranging from effective advocacy to humane education to the lives of Farm Sanctuary’s rescued residents. A major theme: We’re winning! More and more people are becoming educated about the abuses farm animals face, and many of them are making changes to their diets in response. The change is visible. And the industries that profit from animal abuse know it!

Below, view videos of each presentation from the weekend, as well as our Hoe Down Speakers Round Table discussion about where the animal protection movement is headed. (Note to viewers: You will hear cheeping! The speakers’ presentations took place not far from the roosting spots of some of our resident rescued birds.)

Gene Baur

“[T]o me, being vegan is really an aspiration to live as kindly as possible.”

Gene Baur at Farm Sanctuary's Hoe DownGene, Farm Sanctuary’s co-founder and president, has been called “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. For 25 years, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses inflicted by industrialized factory farming and our cheap food system.

His latest book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day, delivers five tenets for maintaining and sharing a compassionate, vegan life. His previous best-seller, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, was published in 2008.

Watch Gene’s presentation, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life:

Learn more about Gene’s work by following him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and learn about his upcoming speaking engagements here. Continue reading