Piggy in Paradise:
How Ziggy, the beach-loving, 300-pound "mini" pig, has inspired thousands to pursue a more compassionate lifestyle.
Our story begins in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In November 2010, our future star found his home with Kristin Hartness. This 25-pound little pig would grow to become Ziggy the Traveling Piggy and someday be loved by thousands. And moreover, this little pig would eventually grow to be 225 more pounds than anticipated!
Kristin learned many things early on in Ziggy's life. Lesson number one?
Teacup pigs, aka mini pigs, are NOT real.
Life with Ziggy in the islands was paradise: to this day, Ziggy still loves the beach and loves to hike and explore. Kristin met Jay shortly after getting Ziggy, and the trio still holds the Virgin Islands close to their hearts, as it is the place that the magic all began.
However, there was a problem: Ziggy kept growing... and growing. It was soon clear that Ziggy wasn't going to stop growing any time soon. Like many do, Kristin and Jay learned the hard way that "mini pigs" are just a marketing scheme created by breeders, taking advantage of people's natural attraction towards small, cute things. In reality, unless they are underfed (another technique used to keep pigs "mini" sized), these pet pigs will nearly always grow to at least 50-150lbs by the time they are full grown, which may not be until they are around three years old. It's not unusual for a "teacup" pig to end up reaching almost 300 like our sweet Ziggy did!
This misinformation leaves thousands of pigs homeless every year due to the fact that the people who purchase mini pigs are not prepared to care of a 100+ pound animal. Ziggy would be one of the few lucky "mini" pigs that got placed with someone dedicated enough to root up their entire lives just to keep him.
And root up her life is exactly what Kristin did. Eventually, she was unable to find a rental that would permit her not-so-mini pig son. She used all of her life's savings to fly Ziggy from the Virgin Islands to their new home -- something a little less lavish but much more exciting -- a large RV ready to explore the country with Jay and Ziggy.
During their explorations, Kristin came to learn the second major lesson that would later be the driving force behind the creation of Ziggy's Refuge. The life of the party everywhere he went, Ziggy had a way with words, or grunts, so to speak...
People of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds would meet this happy and outgoing pig, and suddenly become disgusted by the idea of eating bacon...
Fast forward a bit, and you have a mighty team dedicated to saving farm animals from the fate of being pieces of meat on a fork or otherwise disposed of because of their disabilities.
Kristin, Ziggy, and Jay Yontz began working their rumps off to spread the word about compassionate living, a kind of life that doesn't have to kill other sentient creatures like Ziggy to survive and thrive. This was the introduction of a moral and ethical stance they'd never even heard of before: veganism. Soon, people everywhere were becoming vegetarian and vegan after meeting Ziggy.
Ziggy's Refuge has truly turned into a movement. Every animal in our care was "unwanted" -- either rescued from cruel, cramped conditions of factory farms or discarded and facing death due to a disability. We see the sentience in all of them and by providing refuge here at our sanctuary, every one of our social media followers and visitors to the farm can also see with clarity the individual personalities, intelligence, and will to live that each one possesses.