Teen Abandons Future Farmers Program, Saves Pig Instead

Bruno Barba raised Lola the pig to be auctioned, but a change of heart led him to going vegan and being honored alongside the likes of Morrissey and Jon and Tracey Stewart.


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A 16-year-old high school student from Fullerton, CA named Bruno Barba was awarded Farm Sanctuary’s Friends Not Food Award during the organization’s annual gala October 24. Barba made headlines earlier this year after rescuing the pig he purchased as part of his school’s Future Farmers of America program, which aims to educate students on husbandry, including caring for, cleaning, and feeding animals to have them evaluated and auctioned for slaughter. However, Barba and Lola the pig developed such a strong bond that the teen said he couldn’t send her the to her death. “She was like my best friend,” Barba said. “They have the same feelings as anyone else, and they don’t deserve to get slaughtered.” After witnessing other pigs being butchered as part of the program, Barba said he was determined to take matters in his own hands—traveling more than 500 miles to Orland, CA to transport Lola to her new home at Farm Sanctuary. “I was really happy that she found a new place where she can actually play around,” Barba, who went vegan after the ordeal, said. Representatives for Farm Sanctuary said Lola “immediately took to having a large yard with dirt for her to root in and mud for her to wallow in,” and that she found her “pigginess” very quickly.