On Saturday morning the call went out. Holly had rolled down the hill near the pig barn and was stuck in the scrub.
We provided Holly with intensive care for a week, following the onset of a spinal condition that resulted in Holly losing the use of her back legs.
Holly weighs 180kg and was stuck in scrub in a location that we could not access with any equipment. The situation for her seemed completely hopeless.
However a little later, Holly had dragged herself another 10 metres down the hill. This gave us hope as there was a farm road below, from which we could get access to her with our equipment. Sure enough, even without the use of her back legs, Holly worked her way down the hill to the road.
It was the end of the day when she made it, so we put a tarpaulin over her and tried to make her as comfortable as we could for the night. Overnight we were hit by a massive electrical storm that dumped a torrent of rain.
In the morning we found the tarpaulin destroyed and Holly lying on her side on the road, and we feared the worst. Holly exhibited no signs of being able to move and appeared very ill, so we called a vet out to attend her.
As soon as the vet arrived, Holly jumped up on her front legs, began eating and drinking and chatting excitedly to us about her ordeal. She was so well all of a sudden, we decided to sedate her so that we could load her onto a vehicle and take her back up to the barn.
We delivered the maximum safe amount of sedation, but Holly fought being put onto the stretcher with every ounce of her being, even though she was heavily sedated.
After an hour, we realised that the sedation was not working and we had no humane way to relocate her, so we decided to build her a temporary barn right where she was sitting.
We went off to the hardware store for the building materials, and came back to begin work on the structure.
Holly had vanished.
We searched high and low and eventually found her a further 30 metres down the hill, again in thick scrub. Our temporary barn was no longer an option. We had no idea what to do.
As the day went on, Holly worked herself down the hill through thick scrub in 35°C temperatures. She was constantly hyperventilating, so we continually brought her water to drink and watermelon to eat to keep her cool.
By the end of the day, she was covered with cuts and bruises and we didn’t know what to do, again!
We gave her water and feed, and left her alone for another night out in the open, because deep in the scrub there was nothing else we could do.
In the morning, we found Holly in a dam that was at the bottom of the hill. She was swimming and walking in the water, the water allowing her to actually use her back legs despite her spinal condition.
She has been there a few days now, swimming, wallowing and resting on the bank. She is very chatty when we visit her, but seems to miss her friends who unfortunately only visit her from the pig barn for short periods.
Despite her condition, Holly dragged herself 350 metres to a place where she knew she would be happy and comfortable.
As we know, pigs are exceptionally clever, but the courage and determination that pigs are capable of is so rarely documented.
Every pig in a factory farm must feel like Holly. Unable to move, unable to be comfortable, unable to escape from the horrors that they suffer every day. We know that these pigs would do anything to get away to somewhere safe and comfortable, but we build solid iron bars so that they can’t.
We can’t be sure of what Holly’s future will be. We are so far off standard procedures for caring for pigs, all we can do is adapt to her needs and be there for her. What we can be sure of is that Holly has shown us just how much pigs who are trapped in farms must be suffering simply from their enforced incarceration.
Please tell your friends about Holly’s amazing journey, and ask them to really think before next ordering a pork or bacon product.
How You Can Help
Holly is comfortable, but we fear for her safety. She is under a tarpaulin, but has no protection from the wind or predators who may decide to take a chance with a huge, but disabled, prey. We urgently need a shed, of at least nine square meters, so that we can make a house for her to live in right by the dam. We also need donations to help us establish a fence perimeter strong enough to keep predators, particularly dogs, away.
Thank you for your support, and for your concern for Holly and her amazing journey!