Esther the Wonder Pig—who was diagnosed with breast cancer last month—will not be allowed to receive chemotherapy treatment because she is classified as food according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). “Giving her chemotherapy is illegal because of the current CFIA regulation pertaining to ‘food animals’ such as Esther. But she’s a companion animal,” Steve Jenkins, one of Esther’s dads, said. “It has to do with a very long list of medications and medical treatments that are not allowed to be administered to animals that may become part of the food chain.” After Esther fell ill in November 2017, her dads Jenkins and Derek Walter raised more than $650,000 to bring the necessary CT scanning equipment to Canada to accommodate the 650-pound pig. A scan showed four tumors in Esther’s mammary glands, one of which tested positive for cancer. Esther underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but she may still need chemotherapy. Jenkins and Walter are now on a mission to change CFIA rules that affect animals such as Esther, who have become companion animals instead of part of the food chain. “Companion animals are companion animals and they deserve to get access to medical treatment,” Jenkins said. Esther—who Jenkins and Walter initially thought was a miniature pig—was adopted by the couple in 2012, prompting them to realize that eating animals no longer aligned with their morals. Jenkins and Walter have since promoted veganism by sharing Esther’s story through social media, books, and by opening an animal sanctuary, Happily Ever Esther, in Ontario, Canada.
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