Last Saturday, “Boo,” an 11-month-old, 215-pound pig was stolen from an enclosure maintained by the Future Farmers of America program at Armwood High School in Seffner. The pigs owner, 15-year-old Ema Rivera, told the St. Petersburg Times that she feared her pig would be killed, “I thought that whoever took her might use her in a barbecue.”
On Wednesday, the pig was found and safely returned to Ema. Two men who hoped to sell the pig have been arrested and charged with burglary and grand theft. We’re glad that the pig has been returned. After raising Boo from a young age, we have no doubt that Ema feels an emotional attachment to the animal. But it’s not exactly a happy ending for Boo. The newspaper article ended with a curious statement. Now that Ema has been reunited with Boo, they’re headed to the Florida Strawberry Festival, where, “She hopes to later sell the pig at auction.” Boo may not be sold directly to a slaughterhouse, but that will most likely be her ultimate destination.
Today’s Tampa Tribune had a somewhat more positive article about the “purebred poultry” contest at the Florida State Fair. The paper featured two young women who raise ornamental chickens. “These aren’t your average birds,” explained 17-year-old Brittany Wagner. “You show them off. You don’t eat these birds.” Her friend, 16-year-old Anna Hoffmann, agreed, “I would never eat them.” We believe them. Unfortunately, most of the chickens in Florida are “average” and will be killed and eaten after short and miserable lives. The millions of chickens raised for their eggs and flesh in Florida have just as much personality and are just as beautiful as the chickens that will be judged at the fair. We wish everyone could get to know a chicken like Brittany and Anna. Click here to view photos that accompanied the Tampa Tribune article (including shots of Anna blow-drying one of her chickens).