With over 133,000 fans on Facebook, Esther the Wonder Pig is arguably the most popular pig on the Internet (not counting Muppets). Esther has warmed hearts and inspired people around the world to think more about the animals typically called “food,” since she would have been destined for slaughter had her dads not adopted her.
While Esther is visibly comfy and cozy in her home (shared with her dads, two dogs, and two cats), she’s grown to be over 450 pounds to date. Her dads, Steve and Derek, want to not only make Esther more comfortable, but other farm animals, too. That’s why they’ve started an Indiegogo campaign to start the Esther the Wonder Pig Sanctuary.
“The impact [Esther] is making has inspired us to completely change the course of our lives,” writes Steve. “We are in the process of registering a charity so we can open a farm sanctuary for her, and other food industry animals. We want to provide them with the paradise they deserve, and show their amazing personalities to the world via our social media and online platforms.”
Steve and Derek envision a sanctuary that will be cozy and comfy, just like their home that they’ve been sharing with Esther for the last two years. There will be non-slip hard floors, blankets to sleep on, and a “living room” feel that will really show the intelligence of pigs and their ability to be toilet trained. They plan to open the sanctuary to visitors and educate them on the plight of farmed animals, help them make connections between typical companion animals and those typically raised for food, and also teach vegan cooking classes to encourage kinder, more compassionate eating.
Steve and Derek already have a bid on farmland in Campbellville, Ontario, about 45 minutes from Toronto. The purchase price of the farm is $905,000, but that’s just the beginning. “We need to raise $400,000 CDN of which the majority will go to paying down the farm, bringing the mortgage to a feasible level for us to maintain, along with the substantial costs of operating the farm itself,” they explain on their fundraising site. “The rest of the money will go towards the required improvements we need to make before we can start bringing more animals in, and allowing us to welcome guests, such as renovating the pig barn, clearing and repairing pathways and guest toilets, repairing and replacing fences. The list is endless but one step at a time we will turn this property into a shining example for Sanctuaries everywhere.”
Steve and Derek are certainly passionate about their goals for the sanctuary. Rewards for donating to their vision include a download of the Esther theme song, thank you shout-outs on the sanctuary website, “Peace Love Esther” T-shirts, and more. Check out their Indiegogo page for all the details and to donate.
Photo credit: Esther the Wonder Pig / Facebook.com