the Sacramento Bee

Six Pigs Swiped From Island in the California Delta Stir Muddy Debate

An animal rights group says the pigs were starved in the winter and fed beer in the summer.

What to Know

  • Several pigs were left on an island within the California Delta four years ago to eradicate an invasive species
  • Boaters near the island say the pigs were "stolen" by Farm Sanctuary, not "rescued."
  • The pigs are being treated at UC Davis and some have lice and black diarrhea

Several pigs that were left four years ago on a small island within the California Delta have become the center of residents' debate after an animal-rights group took them off the island.

The Sacramento Bee reports 10 people from Farm Sanctuary used a trailer and barge on Tuesday to ferry six pigs off the island under the land owner's permission.

Susie Coston, the group's national shelter director, says the pigs were not in good health and were being mistreated, but residents in the area disagree.

Several boaters have been feeding the pigs and say on the island, the animals are truly "free."

Delta boater Erlyn Lucas-Payne says the pigs were "stolen," not "rescued." But Coston says the pigs starved in the winter and were fed beer in the summer.

The pigs were brought to the island to eradicate an invasive species, according to a statement from Farm Sanctuary on Wednesday, but they have now become a tourist attraction.

“When we first saw these pigs they were producing black and tarry diarrhea and were drinking from the same water where they were defecating,” the statement reads.

Torrential rain and flooding have also made the pigs’ existence very precarious, the statement says.

The pigs were taken to UC Davis for veterinary care, where some of the animals will be treated for lice and black diarrhea.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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