You must have heard of a dairy farmer who had an epiphany, turned vegan and converted their animal farm into an animal sanctuary. Brazilian farmer Júlio Aureliano has a similar story to tell about a piggy friend who many years ago was meant for the table but ended up becoming part of the family.
Aureliano, who lives in Alto Paraná, in the south of Brazil, was used to buying animals to kill them in order to cook meals for families and friends who visited him at the weekend. Normally he would do that on special occasions. And it was on one of those occasions that he bought the piggy that ended up winning his heart.
“I never had trouble slaughtering animals,” Aureliano told Vegazeta, “I think that’s because my father did that, too. So you grow up believing that it is natural and there is nothing wrong to carry on on this path.”
One day after bringing a pig to the farm and placing him in an improvised pen, he saw him rubbing himself against a sandy patch on the corner.
He concluded he was very hot and splashed some water on the ground. The pig rolled around joyfully as if he was thanking him. Later, Aureliano noticed he hid corn with his snout. He had never seen anything like that, or perhaps had never paid attention, he recalls. He decided to hide a few meters away and observe. Minutes later, a dove flew in through a gap in the rooftop and started to peck on the corn kept by the pig.
Aureliano recognized the dove that several times he had shooed away to stop it from messing with the corn.
“I went to bed thinking how that pig that we were going to kill and eat cared for another being of a different species while I had planned to kill him on Saturday,” he says.
The next day the same happened again. The little pig put apart some corn to feed the bird. An hour later, Aureliano released him from the pen and allowed him to play on the grass. “He scratched and rolled like a dog.”
And so the little pig won his heart over and saved his own life.
The next day, instead of lunch, they had a picnic with the pig was one of the guests, not the food. “I lost my gusto for meat and told my family about it. In the end, everything was fine.”
The pig was named “Vidão” (Goodlife) and lived for another ten years. “Even neighbors brought him food. Everyone loved Goodlife,” says Aureliano.