A pig with 465,000 Instagram followers has been denied chemotherapy because she is classified as 'food'
When we think of the many weird and wonderful animals that live on a farm, it's a little depressing to remember that the vast majority of them will end up on someone else's plate at some point. While I'm far from an animal rights activist (or a vegan, for that matter), it's a little sad that the cutest animals are also pretty delicious as well.
Sometimes, though, these farm animals can be spared from the slaughterhouse if they've got the presence, personality and pure good fortune to become an internet sensation. To that end, if you're not already following Esther the Wonder Pig on social media, I recommend you go do that. Right away. She's the best.
This pig is more photogenic than you or I, and I'm quite okay with that. With 465,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 1.4 million likes on Facebook (oh - and a best-selling book), Esther the Wonder Pig has been a beacon of light in many of my dark days, and I'm so glad I can call upon her on my social media feed.
Her owners, Canadians Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, brought her home one day in 2012, believing she was a micro pig and wouldn't grow to be bigger than 70 pounds. If you can't tell, she turned out to be a lot bigger than that, so they decided to turn her into a social media star instead.
Unfortunately, though, the internet's favourite pig is in a bit of a sad place at the moment.
Esther has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she's struggling at the moment to get chemotherapy treatment. Posting to Facebook, Jenkins and Walter revealed that it's 'illegal' to give Esther chemo as the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) considers her to be little more than a 'food animal'.
"We’ve received some really ridiculous news, and it looks like we’re gonna need some help," they said in their Facebook post, and although they've been denied by the CFIA, Jenkins and Walter aren't giving up on Esther just yet.
"This regulation doesn’t just effect cancer patients, it effects a huge number of conditions/medications, and a huge number of animals that are currently suffering because they aren’t allowed to receive medical treatment," they explained.
"It’s insane that every step of the way we (and anyone else who really cares for farmed animals) face roadblocks, just because they’re not typical 'companion animals.' We hope to god Esther doesn’t need chemo, but we’re not gonna sit around and wait to find out before we make sure she’ll have access to it if need be. They were lucky enough to escape the life they were born to live, it shouldn’t be this hard for us, or anybody else to take care of them."
Warning their followers to "buckle up", Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter have reiterated that they're not going to back down in their quest to get the regulations changed. Hopefully, from there, they can get Esther the Wonder Pig the chemo she needs and deserves.