Life with Pigs Farm Animal Sanctuary in Williamsburg, VA
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.
Located in Williamsburg, VA, 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.
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.
You know your chicken trusts you when she feels comfortable hanging out on the oven. #PerkOfLivingWithVegans
Pictures from our Sanctuary to be.
There is already a 10.5' by 13.5' concrete slab just waiting for the Turkey/Chicken Barn we are currently raising money for. And you can possibly see that there is already an open-air sheep barn, hay shed, and one other building. Plus the entire length of the property is fenced in. And there is a lot of woods that can be cleared to make more space for rescue animals when needed. We are so excited to make this happen and as you can see in the one picture showing the door opening to the yard... no more carrying pigs up and down stairs to get them outside!!!
Please consider helping us fund our Turkey/Chicken Barn by donating here:https://www.facebook.com/donate/1694283680697188/
Video for Our New Vegan Song
This is a video for a song I just finished writing and recording. It features a lot of our nonhuman family as well as some friends from Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary. Let us know what you think and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/lifewithpigs
Your donations now qualify as tax deductions
Life with Pigs and The Three Little Pigs Microsanctuary are now officially a nonprofit organization. All donation made since April 2, 2018 are tax exempt and tax deductible. Click on the donate button to the right or at the top of this page and set up a one-time or monthly donation and support our mission:
Life with Pigs is dedicated to educating people about the injustices faced by animals and how we can better coexist with these fellow earthlings. We operate under the guiding principle that animals are our equals and deserve equal consideration for their needs and desires.
Check out our interview with Animal Voices. You can also watch the YouTube version of it too. If you watch the video, see if you can spot the moment when chicken poo plops on to my leg and I try to act naturally and keep talking.
If 4H Rewrote Charlotte's Web
Wilbur's eyes filled with tears as he looked up at his family. He had been sure that his beloved Fern would save him. And he would have bet his life that Zuckerman would never sell him for slaughter. Yet, here he was at the country fair with a price tag on his pen.
Zuckerman looked over to Fern and said, "Be brave little one. We need to make a profit off this famous pig before people lose interest. He is only a pig. And it is our right to do as we please to him. Don't worry, his death will be quick and painless."
"Can death really be quick and painless?" asked a slightly comforted Fern.
Not wanting to lie, Zuckerman adjusted his story, "Well, no. Quite often the attempts at slaughter are botched and the pig will flop about in extreme pain and suffering requiring an unskilled worker to try and finish him off as he twist and turns in terror. But, eventually, he will be dead and no longer in pain. And we will have the money in our pockets all the same."
Fern's eyes filled with tears and she trembled. But, not wanting to disappoint Mr. Zuckerman and her parents, she pushed through and boldly turned to the highest bidder with a forced smile and said, "Enjoy your Holiday Ham. I bet Wilbur will make some great bacon."
And something inside her snapped. She no longer felt compassion or love for animals. Instead, they were mere commodities to be bought and sold. And instead, she began worrying about plants and the pain they must feel. Fern couldn't bear to think of a law being mown without shuttering.
Zuckerman smiled, patted Fern on the back, and whispered in her ear, "You are one of us now. Congratulations. Next year will be a breeze. Now kill that damn spelling spider. Those things are creepy."
Fern reached up a squished Charlotte, and had already come up with a dozen justifications for why Charlotte's life didn't matter. She let slip a wicked grin... she had become an adult.
Beatrice continues to blend right into the family and has earned a place as honorary pig. Pumpkin, Charlotte and Millie all seek her out to enjoy the wonderful feeling of her gentle pecks or her scratchy talons. Pig heaven!
Mini pig gives her sister the chicken a ride
Millie has come around to realizing that Beatrice is a great sister to have. Her sharp talons and point beak can get Millie's happy mohawk up in no time. And now Millie follows Beatrice around hoping that Bea will peck at her or walk on her back. They are a cute little duo.
Charlotte really wanted to eat her food, but didn't quite know how to tell Beatrice to get out of her way. She tries to get creative and just take her food back. And finally settles for sneaking around to avoid confrontation.