5 min read

Pigs Who Spent Their Life In The Dark See Sun For The First Time

They're finally feeling the grass beneath their feet too.

It's best that you don't know where Arthur and Olivia live now. New identities. New lives.

Think of it as a kind of witness protection program for animals.

But we can say they were born in Flanders, a region of Belgium notorious for its vast factory farming operations.

"There are more pigs than humans," Benoit van den Broeck, campaign manager at Animal Rights Europe, tells The Dodo.

It's just hard to see them all because most spend their lives in darkness.

"There are pens and all of the sows are locked inside them and they don't have room to turn around," he says.

In September, a team from Animal Rights Europe covertly visited one of those farms, hoping to chronicle the conditions inside.

"On that particular farm there are more than 500 sows and the only thing they do is give birth to these piglets all of the time," van den Broeck explains.

The team came across a couple of baby pigs who were too weak and sick to be processed for meat.

"Normally according to the law they have to be euthanized, the weaker ones, but the farmers often just smack them on the floor because it is a cheaper solution to kill them," van den Broeck says.

But the team, having entered the barn unnoticed, had another idea.

They decided to give the baby pigs a new identity.

So the tiny animals were placed in carriers. And when those carriers opened again, they found themselves in a new reality.

A reality with sunlight.

And green grass to burrow in.

And the warmth of human kindness.

It's a secret paradise for pigs that no one can talk about - lest the sanctuary face reprisals from the factory farm industry.

"I cannot disclose information about their home," van den Broeck says. "But they have a new loving home and are being taken care of and getting the treatment they should have and can live a long and happy life as pigs."

And unlike countless other animals still locked away at factory farms, these pigs have names: Olivia and Arthur.

"For the industry, it is convenient that the animals do not have a name and remain faceless and are anonymous," van den Broeck adds. "We are trying to give them a face and name so they aren't anonymous anymore. So people see them as real living beings and not just objects."

Factory farming is hardly exclusive to Flanders, Belgium. Not is it confined to pigs.

Massive commercial farming operations all over the world frequently treat chickens, cows and pigs as little more than consumer goods.

If you would like to support Animal Rights Europe in its mission to have animals treated as more than just products, consider making a donation here.

Watch a video about Arthur and Olivia below: