It is easier to understand the emotional bonds with pets because of their presence in the house as members of the families. But intelligence and love are to be found in all living beings.
Those who rescue and live with pigs can see, on a daily basis, how affectionate and intelligent these animals are, despite so many people seeing them as products bound to suffer from day one.
Cintia Frattini, founder of Terra dos Bichos sanctuary in São Paulo state had a larger than life experience with pigs. In 2015, when a truck carrying pigs to the slaughterhouse overturned at Rodoanel motorway in São Paulo, 68 of the animals with serious wounds were rescued and taken to Cintia’s ranch.
“22 animals in very bad shape died in the first week. After that, another 22 were sent in from the slaughterhouse. After a month, I was sent another 27 pigs and a donkey from a clandestine slaughterhouse who had been seized by the environmental police,” Cintia recounts.
The pig rescue transformed Cintia’s ranch into a fully-fledged sanctuary, which is now home to 350 animals of 16 different species, including 65 pigs.
Cintia discovered that pigs can be notoriously grumpy in some situations. When they are hungry, they can destroy any environment. “Pigs are living backhoes. They dig with their snouts and they can wreck any environment because they are really strong,” Cintia says.
But the greatest lesson learned is love,” she adds.
Pigs are very intelligent animals
There is another trait that Frattini appreciates in pigs.
“It is a joy to live with animals who are so shrewd and form strong friendship bonds. They are also very funny. But what really strikes me most about them is how intelligent they are. This reinforced to me the fact I cannot eat pigs, although I’ve never eaten pigs or any other animals,” she says.
One peculiarity about the pigs at Cintia’s sanctuary is that they are all called by the same name. The boys are called Zezinho and the girls are called Maria. She does have one pig called Ugo, who came to the sanctuary when he was only two months old.
An animal sanctuary for the masters
Another sanctuary where pigs find refuge is Santuário Vale da Rainha, which is run by yoga teacher Patrícia Varela Favano and her husband, organic food farmer Vitor Favano.
The sanctuary is in Camanducaia, Minas Gerais State and all the animals in their care are called ‘Masters’.
“My husband and I noted that animals have a superior spirit as it is evident from their ability to love and forgive. Because they teach us so much, we see them as Masters who put our hearts to the test, the eyes on our hearts, to find out whether we can recognize them,” says Patrícia.
The sanctuary currently houses 120 ‘animal Masters’ from different species, besides cats and dogs.
There are five mini pigs rescued from a breeder, other five pigs were saved from a clandestine slaughterhouse and another one, a cross between a boar and a pig called Vandana Shiva, who was taken from an illegal breeder while she was pregnant.
“We don’t usually say we founded the sanctuary. Instead, we say we received a spiritual guidance seven years ago. We are dedicated spiritual practitioners. I follow Hinduism, Vitor follows Umbanda (Afro-Brazilian religion) and both Santo Daime (ayahuasca ritual). We consider ourselves guardians of a higher purpose,” says Patrícia.