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The Big C

Updated: May 12, 2022

Based on our recent appeals, you might think that all our residents have cancer. In November, we asked for your help with treating many of our newly rescued pigs’ skin cancer. We recently told you the stories of Jamie, our sweet young pig with bone cancer, and Ryder, the goat with lymphoma.



Cancer is, unfortunately, something we deal with pretty regularly at the sanctuary. There are a few reasons for this. For one, the animals we rescue have been manipulated through the (many, many) generations to function as food – more of a commodity than a companion. So most farmed animals are not bred to live long lives.

Pigs raised to be food, for example, live only six months and breeding females survive a short 3-5 years (check out our lifespans infographic) before they are slaughtered. That's a fraction of their natural lifespan. So the genetics that support longevity beyond that or healthy body systems aren’t really a top priority for Big Pork. Instead, selective breeding focuses on putting weight on quickly, producing huge litters, and creating uniformity and conformity that makes it easy to process large numbers on an assembly line.

As a result of all this genetic manipulation, we see a large amount of cancer.


Case in Point: Skin cancer is prevalent in "commercial" pigs at sanctuaries. Their pink skin lacks protective melanin pigments and makes them vulnerable to the sun. But today they are housed indoors for short periods, and therefore, the light skin is of no consequence. This contrasts with the darker pigmentation of their wild cousins. As a result, we commonly see skin cancer in our farm pigs, whereas our feral pigs with darker pigments rarely develop skin cancer.


But despite generations of breeding working against them, with attention to their diet, shelter, and care, we have farmed pigs that have lived to be as old as 17 years (!) – 20-30x longer than most of their cousins.

We do all we can to help prevent the development of cancer in the pigs – like providing them with large mud holes, tons of shade, and sunscreen as needed. Our goal as a sanctuary is always to provide the animals in our care with a safe happy and healthy life. We constantly monitor their skin and overall health and tend to catch issues early enough to help provide them with much longer lives than they would have if left untreated.

BONUS UPDATE: All the pigs from our Giving Tuesday Skin Cancer Fund have now had surgery to remove their tumors – and they are all doing well (like Philip, Ellie Mae (center☝) and Andrew (right ☝)! Only Ellie Mae (left ☝) still needs a second surgery. This pretty lady had tens of lesions covering the sides of her body, and Dr. Rogers removed those from only one side, so she could rest on her other while recovering. She’ll be getting that second surgery soon.

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sadly, enough now animals such as pigs aren’t just raised for food, but as organ donors for greedy medical corporations to experiment on. Truly sad, thank you for your hard work saving lifes.

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It is important to realize that industries will not change until PEOPLE change. Industry is driven by profit. When enough people demand change and stop buying/supporting cruelty, only then will industry change. It's like the old expression, "When you have them by the balls (or wallet), their hearts and minds soon follow." It is already happening on a smaller scale with some companies beginning to offer vegan alternatives, but this needs to grow.

Also remember that animal agriculture contributes greatly to the environment and climate issues - they are ALL interconnected. That along, with excessive human overpopulation, are the backbones of the problem.

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As a vegan, animal rescuer and life-long animal advocate, I'm finding it disturbing that animal issues seem to be politicized. There is NO PARTY - not Republican and not Democrat - that truly cares about animals, they ALL work on behalf of the special interest groups that throw funds their way, and this includes hunting groups, gun lobbies, factory farming interests and government animal/wildlife agencies (USDA, DNR, FWS, etc.) that kill more than they help. I've spent a lifetime fighting these groups and the dark underbelly that is unknown by the vast majority of the public is truly frightening. Animals are viewed primarily as food or embellishments and not as living beings not unlike us, and until this changes, prog…

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L R
L R
Jan 12, 2022

Thank you, Julie. Thank God that on Tucker Carlson last night, horrible lab cruelty on monkeys and beagles, who are bred and raised solely for PROFIT, was featured by a rep from PETA. Thank You, Tucker for airing it! And "our" Dr. Fauci is proveably complicit in this with his power and position of funding such things at the NIH!

It's so SAD that so few people are exposed to such truths as this AND ignorant of the plight of farmed animals who are just born just to die violent deaths!

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Replying to

You cannot believe anything you hear from Tucker Carlson. Faux Fox is not a legitimate news service. Check more reliable sources.

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L R
L R
Jan 12, 2022

The behind-the-scenes "news" each night of political lies, graft, corruption and dishonesty is so appalling that it's so comforting to know that there is still so much COMPASSION left in this otherwise miserable and deteriorating world. I just wish Biden's trillions of $$$ in "infrastructure" proposals would go to such animal causes. In all forms, and unlike us, innocent animals lack any safety nets for basic survival.

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I agree that these wonderful, innocent animals deserve better treatment. Give President Biden a chance. He is trying to help humanity presently, then we can do more for our beloved animals.

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