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Goodbye to Flip

On the night of the 25th of January Flip passed away in her sleep.

We believe that her organs finally failed, as was inevitable due to her condition. One of the center’s first and most well-loved residents, she will be greatly missed.

A farewell to Flip

I first met Flip nearly 3 years ago when she arrived at the centre at the beginning of February 2002. I remember us lifting her off the back of the truck while she kicked and squealed and setting her down on the ground. She really was a very sad sight: unable to stand up, overgrown hooves, wasted away and skinny- nothing like what a pig should look like. She had a look of fear and bewilderment in her eyes and we all felt nothing but pity for her, especially when we heard the conditions she had been kept in over the last few months; trapped in a small cage in the quarantine area of a zoo, hidden away from sight, considered a “burden”.

In her first few weeks at the centre those of us who spent time with her learnt a lot about this very intelligent pig. First of all, she absolutely loved attention from people she knew. If you sat with her and petted her or even just talked to her she would close her eyes in contentment and make happy grunting sounds. I swear sometimes you could even see a smile on her face! Flip loved her food, but she had her fussy moments and would make it clear what she wanted and what was not in favour that day, often changing her mind of what she liked or didn’t like on a daily basis.

She loved to watch what was going on around her and would turn herself around to see where the action was. Despite being partially paralyzed she could actually move herself around quite a lot if she wanted to and some mornings we would be surprised to find she had decided to actually move herself from inside her enclosure into the open space outside.

There have been so many volunteers over the past three years who have devoted hours to Flip; bathing her, brushing her, talking to her, even sitting and reading to her! All of these caring individuals really made a difference to Flip’s quality of life.

At the time of her arrival and on countless occasions since then, the subject of euthanasia has been brought up. “It’s not fair to keep her alive; how would you feel if you couldn’t stand up?” and so on. We’ve heard every argument. Of course it is something we thought about. A pig like Flip would no doubt be euthanized in our “developed” countries in the west. But the fact is that we consulted vets, farmers and people who had worked with pigs for years, and every one agreed that if a pig is not happy then he/she will not eat. So we decided as long as Flip is eating and shows the will to live, who are we to take away her right to life?

My argument has always been that Flip has had a much better quality of life here than all those millions of pigs being factory farmed around the world today, being held in prison-like conditions, unable to even turn around and never seeing the sky. I used to tell people, before judging us and our decision to keep Flip alive, think about the animal suffering that is caused by your every day actions. At least Flip could feel the sun on her back and although unable to walk, actually experienced far more freedom than those pigs unfortunate enough to be destined for the dinner table.

I am glad we did not listen to so many other people’s opinion and stuck with the decision to give Flip the chance of life. This special character will be greatly missed.

Amy, January 2005

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