A sweet pig at auction whom rescuers bid $4,700 to save instead got sent to the slaughterhouse, with the venue and organizers citing entrenched policies from which they said they would not budge.
Meg and Eric Weinberger went to the South Florida Fair with the goal of rescuing a pig raised through the 4-H agriculture program and transporting her to their animal sanctuary, the Rescue Life Sanctuary in Palm Beach Gardens. They instantly locked eyes with Bella B. Swine, a dark-colored pig, and placed a winning bid of $4,700.
The couple was initially overjoyed, believing they would soon be bringing Bella home. Instead, to their astonishment, the fair managers said the couple could only accept Bella presented as 186 pounds of meat, or their bid would be rejected and the pig would still be sent to a local slaughterhouse.
The Weinbergers were heartbroken. They had already envisioned Bella enjoying the sun and outdoors along with the other animals at the sanctuary.
“It did not say it was a slaughter-only auction, otherwise we’d have turned around and walked away,” Meg Weinberger told The Guardian. “Other fairs in Florida allow auction winners to take the animals with them. You can keep the meat, donate the meat or take the animal home.”
Meg Weinberger called the Florida Department of Agriculture, which reportedly told her there should be an option of a private sale that would allow her to buy a live animal.
But no amount of money would have convinced fair officials to allow Bella B. Swine to leave the auction alive, President and CEO of the fair, Vicki Chouris, told news.
“The animals sold off are part of a lesson to children on how to become farmers,” Chouris said. “The process is they raise the animals for food consumption. That is the reason why.”
After the fair refused to allow the rescuers to pay and take Bella home, Meg called the local slaughterhouse to see if they would be willing to sell her the pig. She hit another brick wall.
“They called me back and said they weren’t willing to lose their contract with the state fair over one pig,” Meg Weinberger told news.
Bella B. Swine was raised and named by a teenage girl, who became upset about the dispute, according to news reports.
Earlier this year, Lady Freethinker also reported on Cedar, a charismatic goat raised in a 4-H program by a young girl who became attached to him and begged her parents to allow her to withdraw Cedar from the auction. Her parents offered to pay their local fair Cedar’s going price to be allowed to keep him alive, and the fair refused — causing heartbreak to the young girl and her family. The family has since sued, with their case pending in court.
Contact South Florida Fair: https://www.southfloridafair.com/p/thefair/contact-us