Do you think one pig can change people’s love for bacon?
Absolutely, if Esther the Wonder Pig has anything to snort about it!
For those of you who don’t know about Esther, she’s a pet pig who was adopted back in 2012 by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, two Ontario men who were under the impression she was of the ‘micro pig’ varietal. But two years later, weighing in at over 600 pounds, Esther is anything BUT micro.
So what’s a pig owner to do? For these former pork eaters-turned vegans, the choice was simple. Keep and love Esther, and embrace her as part of their family (which also includes two dogs and two cats).
But that wasn’t enough. They began sharing their Esther journey online (quickly racking up thousands of fans and followers), exposing the compassionate, loving side of Esther and raising awareness about the brutality of life for most pigs.
Steve and Derek share their intentions clearly on Esther the Wonder Pig’s Facebook page: ”We want to help show you that she understands everything we say to her. She knows what’s happening, and she feels every emotion we do. She is not a product, or a piece of pork.”
If you follow Esther online, you can’t help but notice how smart and sweet pigs can be. Esther oozes personality, making her an ideal champion to transform people’s perceptions about pigs as being more than just meat on a plate.
To be clear, Steve and Derek’s goal is not to actively promote pigs as pets. On the contrary, the pair cautions potential pig parents about the amount of work it takes to raise a pet pig. They advise those considering owning a pig to do LOTS of pet pig research first.
For Esther followers, what they get is a real sense that this animal has soul and intelligence, and the ability to inspire them to tap into their own compassion.
It’s also pretty darn fun tracking Esther’s antics online. The captions that accompany her photos are often humorous and relatable. Picture a 600+ pound pig spread out on the (entire) living room couch, with the caption, “I’m sorry were you hoping to sit down?”
It’s hard to bite into a pork sandwich guilt-free after seeing a photo of Esther and her dog siblings in their kitchen patiently waiting to be served a treat, or curled up with one of her dads under a blanket.
But what is the likelihood of transforming our bacon-obsessed society simply by sharing one pig’s journey online? If Esther could talk, my guess is she would say something like, “there’s only one way to find out!”
If Esther’s dads are any indication, it’s possible. They switched to a vegan diet after meeting Esther, and there are countless examples of others who develop pig compassion over time and switch to pork-free living, like this guy.
You know the saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Esther’s dads appear to be doing just that, and it seems to be resonating with LOTS of people. Esther has over 170,000 Facebook fans and close to 40,000 Instagram followers (and growing), a fan club and YouTube channel. But that’s not all.
Esther the Wonder Pig’s team now has a Facebook community called Esther‘s Army, self-described as “the campaign headquarters for change” where they share what people can do to help animals, and another one called Esther‘s Kitchen, “a hangout for those who want to learn more about how to prepare healthy Esther Approved meals at home.”
What lies ahead for Esther and her family? Thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from Esther fans, Esther’s dads were able raise over $440,000 to purchase a farm which will become an animal sanctuary come November 2014 if all goes according to plan. How cool is that?! Here are Esther’s dads saying thank you to sanctuary donators:
So back to the question at hand, “Can one pig change people’s love for bacon?”
I’d say she already has.
Here are some ways YOU can join Esther‘s journey:
- Visit Esther’s Official Website
- Join Esther’s Fan Club
- Find Esther on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
Photo Credit: EsthertheWonderPig