Toronto area pig named animal influencer of the year
As gross as the concept of influencers may be, in general, it's always nice to see a homegrown social media superstar recognized for their achievements.
The Campbellville, Ontario pet-turned international animal rights ambassador was just named "Best Animal Influencer" in peta2's 13th annual Libby Awards.
The first ever animal to win such an award, Esther joins celebrities such as Bella Thorne, Dove Cameron and Olympic gold medallist Alex Morgan in the winner's circle this time around, even beating out the famous Lil' Bub despite having merely a quarter of the cat's follower count on Instagram.
"When Esther's guardians, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, met her in 2012, they were told that the 4-pound piglet was a 'micro-pig'," writes peta2 of the celebrity hog. "Six years and 650 pounds later, that's obviously not the case—but Jenkins and Walter have made her part of the family."
2yrs ago today we became published authors! It was an exciting day that got even better when we found out we made the New York Times Best Sellers list. It’s hard to believe our third book (2nd non-fiction) comes out in only 5 weeks. https://t.co/6UFszBklFh #ThrowbackThursday pic.twitter.com/zhPshztDRN— Esther TheWonder Pig (@EstherThePig) May 31, 2018
In fact, Jenkins and Walter were so taken with their loving, funny, intelligent pig that she inspired them to found what's become one of the world's most-famous farm animal sanctuaries.
Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, roughly one hour outside of Toronto, has rescued at least 65 abused, neglected and abandoned farm animals since it opened in 2014, a combination of goats, chickens, donkeys, ducks, horses, cows, rabbits, sheep, cats, more pigs and other animals in need.
"Esther and her Dads rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and abused farmed animals, and spread Esther's style of love and compassion - known as The Esther Effect!" reads the sanctuary's website.
"Our goal is to provide a safe, life-long home for all of our residents, and to educate the public about the true nature of farmed animals through tours, volunteer programs, and community outreach."
Happy birthday month to Nancy and Heidi!— Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary (@HEEFS_) December 6, 2018
They were both born in December 2016. They are also our biggest (14 lbs.) and smallest (just under 1lb.) chickens. pic.twitter.com/W0CTyHJ0pA
Esther's big win comes on the heels of a big year for Canada's (if not the world's) most famous pig.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, a team of veterinarians at the University of Guelph removed four masses from her body during a three-and-a-half-hour surgery in late August.
She is now cancer-free, but her ordeal resulted in a fundraising campaign that raised more than $750,000 for a massive CT scanner—the largest of its kind in the world.
Jenkins and Walter donated the machine to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph so that it can be used by other animal charities and rescue organizations with very large animals.
Santa’s coming!! pic.twitter.com/FWsZtk9QaH— Esther TheWonder Pig (@EstherThePig) December 18, 2018
"The world has fallen in love with Esther the Wonder Pig, who's inspired countless people to start seeing animals as individuals instead of as food," said peta2 Senior Director Marta Holmberg in a statement about this year's Libby Award winners.
"peta2 is recognizing Esther and her guardians for showing the world that no animal deserves to be mutilated and killed to end up on someone's plate."
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