Most of the animals who look like Esther the Wonder Pig become meat. Through lucky circumstance, Esther became a top notch hedonist.
It's a fact her human family is hoping will change how you see all animals, even those who aren't fortunate enough to get regular belly rubs.
"We can’t handle the thought of the life Esther was born for," says Steve Jenkins, one of Esther's adoptive dads. "These animals are loving, intelligent and sensitive animals. Not just a product or a piece of pork."
Esther was not supposed to grow to be 700 pounds. Her first owner was told she'd be one-tenth of that size, tops.
As it turns out, Esther was bred to be an industrial pig, not the miniature variety that the first owner had been promised.
And when the piggy's enormity became apparent, animal lovers Jenkins and Derek Walter were asked if they could take her in.
This was back in 2012 -- and at the time, these guys were meat-eating city-dwellers who worked as a professional magician and a real estate agent.
Once Esther took over their lives -- and their home -- things changed.
Now the family lives on a 50-acre sanctuary in the Canadian countryside, and are huge advocates for plant-based eating.
Yes, if watching Esther delight in her belly rub makes you feel like perhaps it's time to rethink pork bellies more generally -- well, that's part of the point. They even call it the "Esther effect."
Genetically, Esther's the same as the hundred million other pigs raised for slaughter every year in the U.S.
The only difference between Esther and these other millions of animals, is that, as you can see on the deservedly popular Facebook page where Esther's glorious existence is documented, she was given the chance to live -- and how!
Esther's dads would like these little glimpses into Esther's enormously wonderful life to help others see that pigs -- even the really big ones, born and bred to be bacon -- are, in essence, no different from cats and dogs.
Except of course in size and in terms of how they're treated.
You may be wondering, finally, if Esther is done growing. There's a famously gigantic pig named Big Bill who reportedly topped out at 2,552 pounds.
Jenkins isn't sure if Esther will become even more zaftig. He hopes not -- but doesn't want to bring it up with the pig , he says, because loved and charmed as she is, "she's pretty sensitive" about her weight.
We don't know about that, Esther! More weight is really just more deliciously cute belly to rub.
After all, this big pink sweetheart of a pleasure-seeker loves to sleep and eat -- you don't get to be 700 pounds by dieting!
And there's really nothing better -- for her or for us, who get to see it -- than to finish up a tough day of lounging about with a nice long belly rub.
"Esther will actually extend and hold up her legs so that you can get into her favorite spots, including inside of her armpits and the crook of her back leg," says Jenkins. "She literally purrs with pleasure."
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