How Did Life with Pigs Farm Animal Sanctuary Come to Be? In 2016, I (Ryan Phillips) got a message in the middle of the night asking if I would be willing to adopt a former breeder pig named Pumpkin that had just had her last round of babies. We were told that if we didn’t take her she was unlikely to have a happy ending. The problem was, my family lived in a 2-bedroom condo on the second floor up a flight of winding stairs in the City of Williamsburg where the laws related to minipigs are such that I wasn’t sure if mini pigs would be welcomed. Of course, not taking this pig meant she could end up without a home or worse. So, I asked my wife during the middle of the night while she was half awake if we could adopt a pig. She sleepily said yes. Fortunately, she never regretted that half-conscious approval. And soon after we decided to ask to bring one of Pumpkin’s babies, Charlotte, with her (since we wished she never had to be separated from any of her children). And then came Millie, a piglet that was being booted from her home and needed a place quickly. She was followed by Tesla the rabbit and then Beatrice the escaped farm hen. It was the arrival of Beatrice the chicken that made us realize living in a second story condo was probably not a good fit for what had become nothing less than a condo micro sanctuary. And it was at the time our good friend Heather, a local librarian, tipped us off to a piece of agricultural land going on sale nearby. Knowing there was a fenced in open yard ready for us, we knew we had found our home almost without needing to see the house. What is ‘Life with Pigs’ and ‘Life with Pigs Farm Animal Sanctuary’? Life with Pigs is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to educating people about the injustices faced by animals and how we can better coexist with our fellow earthlings. We operate under the guiding principle that animals are our equals and deserve equal consideration for their needs and desires. Much of our outreach involves bringing people into contact with animals often seen as ‘food animals’ and helping them to realize that these animals deserve the right to live happily just as much as dogs and cats do. We met and impacted thousands of people by simply taking our pigs and eventually our chicken out to places like Colonial Williamsburg and college campuses. While the pigs and chicken grazed on grass, many people came to meet them and were changed forever. We had so many people tell us in the moment that they would never see these animals the same again. Many pledged to no longer participate in the abuses happening to these animals by going vegan or vegetarian. The Sanctuary A huge part of our mission is providing a happily-ever-after home to the animals most abused by human society. While our name refers to our life with pigs, our sanctuary will be a home to animals of all species. Here is a look at our immediate plan for the near future: Plan for Fall/Winter 2018-2019: Build a Barn for Turkeys and Chickens divided in the middle to keep them separate but save on building costs by having it be one structure.
We are hoping to provide homes to a pair of rescue turkeys
And we already have two additional chickens coming to join Beatrice the chicken.
Build a barn suitable for larger rescue animals (i.e. pig/cow/?). Host our first visitors (including school groups, homeschool groups and locals wanting to come and see what we are all about). Host a thanksgiving event to raise awareness for the victims of our culture’s current violence driven holiday that results in the death of 40 million turkeys.
What Makes Our Sanctuary Special? Our sanctuary is special because every animal given a forever home will be a known individual and integral member of the sanctuary family. We will never grow so large that animals will be anything less than an adored and loved family member. The physical land size of our sanctuary makes it impossible to grow too large and our goal is that every individual living with us will be a known personality whose story will help transform the world’s understanding of the animals we so commonly take for granted as mere commodities. One advantage of being a small sanctuary is that our overhead costs are low. Our house is a family home and so no expenses related to the sheltering of humans have to be factored into our existence as a sanctuary. And this also means that the land upon which the sanctuary is located comes without cost to the sanctuary. Our only costs will be the building of structures specific to animal shelter and care and the food and medical needs of our non-human family. This means every dollar donated to our sanctuary can go further towards the mission of providing homes to these amazing beings and educating the public on how we must transform our world to one without animal exploitation. Another great benefit of our Life with Pigs Farm Animal Sanctuary is that we are located in the heart of Williamsburg Virginia. We are not far from places like Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens and believe that this means we are easy to access for tourists coming to the area. This will allow us to reach people that might just think of us as a vacation stop but end up finding that we were a life changing moment for them. And this is where having animals whose personalities and stories are so near and dear to us becomes a huge benefit. With each of our animals being a true family member who is known as well as any companion animal or beloved house animal, we will be equipped to make the most convincing case for seeing these animals as the individuals and sentient beings that they are.