You might be surprised to learn that in Australia, pigs are not protected from cruelty. Along with cows, chickens, sheep and other farmed animals, pigs are specifically excluded from the animal cruelty laws that protect cats and dogs.
But how could this be?
Pigs are just as smart. In fact, they’re smarter than dogs. They have engaging personalities, enjoy good food and sunshine, seek out companionship, love their babies and desperately try to protect their own lives.
20 years ago in 2003, an idea was borne out of kindness.
Knowing how wonderful and deserving of life pigs really are, and seeing the reality of their situation, the time was ripe to get people connecting with pigs and learning about their plight.
So, when James Cromwell, aka “Farmer Hoggett” from the hit movie Babe, arrived in Australia in May 2003, our founder Pam Ahern saw a golden opportunity to highlight the plight of pigs and our flawed animal protection legislation that excludes farmed animals. A passionate animal activist, James was keen to help, agreeing to have his photograph taken with a pig.
But where to find a pig?
A children’s farm agreed to help for a fee. But then came our Eureka moment – why not procure our own pig? And procure we did from a piggery – a landrace large white cross whom we named Edgar Alan Pig.
After the photoshoot, we created a sanctuary to provide lifelong loving care for our porcine star and named it in his honour. Edgar’s Mission was about to change our lives forever! Today, thousands of animals’ lives have been saved due to this humble pig with heaps of charm.
Pam would take Edgar for walks in the park and people would gather to marvel at his unique brand of pigginess. With his deep guttural belly grunts, Edgar quickly endeared himself to everyone he met.
Watching the profound effect Edgar had on people, Pam realised the best ambassadors for changing the way people think about farmed animals are the animals themselves. Edgar’s Mission would become a sanctuary for the animals who could be rescued, and a much-needed voice for those who could not.
With his delightful ability to champion the cause of pigs, Edgar became the first of a great line of ambassador pigs who now call Edgar’s Mission home sweet home.
Building Edgar’s Mission from the ground up, the rescued residents became ambassadors for their kind – showing the world that each is an individual, complete with their rich emotional world. Just like us, they seek to live a peaceful and happy life surrounded by their family and friends.
Today farmed animal sanctuaries around the world are shining a spotlight of compassion on these once forgotten animals, and in doing so opening hearts and minds to kinder ways of living.