Last Tuesday, Farm Sanctuary reached out to the University of Guelph about saving the lives of 16 “Enviropigs” who will likely be meeting an untimely death if they’re not rescued, but the university says that adopting them out is not an option.
“We have had many generous and well-intentioned offers from individuals and groups who would like to help find homes for our Enviropigs. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no opportunity for this to occur,” said Professor Richard Moccia, associate vice-president for research.
The pigs were created in partnership with Ontario pork with the intention of making more environmentally friendly pigs for human consumption and the pigs were set to be approved under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, but Ontario pork pulled its funding this spring.
Now that this project is ending, the pigs will likely be put down if the university can’t find new partners to continue the work.
Researchers at the university genetically modified the pigs by inserting E. coli bacteria attached to DNA from a mouse into their chromosomes. As a result, an enzyme is produced that helps them digest phosphorus in cereal grains and reduce its presence in their manure. Phosphorus is typically used as fertilizer, but also leads to troublesome algae blooms in water.
“We are legally bound to keep the animals in close containment, and the protocols strictly forbid the disposition of animals at the termination of research. As such, adoption, donation or transfer of the animals would represent a breach of our protocols, as well as Canadian regulations,” said Moccia.
Bruce Friedrich, senior director for strategic initiatives at Farm Sanctuary, contends that there isn’t actually a law that is preventing them from releasing the pigs, and if there is, then they should get an exemption.
The university is reportedly concerned that the pigs may reproduce with domesticated or feral pigs, or possibly end up in the food supply, but Farm Sanctuary offered the simple solution of having them spayed/neutered and already has possible homes lined up for them.
“Pigs are interesting individuals who have the same behavioral needs, capacities for cognition and emotion, and range of personalities that we all know to exist in dogs and cats,” said Friedrich. “For the same reason they wouldn’t kill 16 healthy dogs at the end of a research project, we’re asking the University of Guelph to take responsibility for the lives of these poor animals they brought into the world and instead of killing them, give them a chance to live out their final years basking in sunshine, taking mud baths, and simply being pigs.”
Please sign the petition asking the university not to kill these pigs.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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