Ziggy the Traveling Pig Inspires New Animal Sanctuary

Social media pig starlet is the driving force behind plans for a farmed animal refuge.

Inspired by their companion pig Ziggy, North Carolina-based couple Kristin and Jay Hartness plan to open Ziggy’s Refuge—a 175-acre farmed animal sanctuary. The couple initially purchased Ziggy on a Caribbean Island while under the impression that he was a “teacup pig” who would grow no more than 20 pounds, but Ziggy quickly expanded to more than 250. The Hartness’ fell in love with him, and his presence became the catalyst for their veganism. Ziggy has since gained mass social media attention after a video of him playing on the beach was shared by media outlets The Dodo, Bored Panda, and The Weather Channel, amongst others, receiving more than 40 million views. “We’ve opened the eyes of people all over the world, and now they’re able to appreciate that animals are much more than what is served on a plate,” Kristin says. The couple launched a crowdfunding campaign to help them build Ziggy’s Refuge, where they hope to offer “a heaven on earth to animals rescued from unfortunate circumstances, by giving them shelter and the same amount of love we’ve been able to offer Ziggy.” Ziggy’s story mirrors that of Esther the Wonder Pig—a social media maven with her own eponymously titled memoir.

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