Around the same time Jenkins and Walter fully accepted Esther into their family, they became aware of just how misrepresented the pig's past had been. A vet alerted them to the fact that Esther's tail had been clipped, which rarely (if ever) happens with pet pigs. Commercial pigs that are raised to be eaten, however, have their tails clipped almost immediately after birth.
"She's big, but she's not as big as the average commercial pig, so we think she was the runt of the litter," Jenkins explained. "Runts are usually killed separately while the rest go to the slaughterhouse, so we have no idea how she got away." It's possible that Esther escaped, or that by a stroke of luck she fell from the truck that was transporting her to a darker fate.
Jenkins and Walter subscribe to a different version of the story, though. "We like to hope that the person who was supposed to kill her couldn't do it," Jenkins said. According to him, it's not out of the question; he has received a number of message from people who say that just knowing about Esther has made them re-evaluate their relationships with all animals.
Jenkins and Walter feel similarly. A few weeks after they adopted Esther, both men began to question their dietary habits, wondering how they had come to conclude that some pets were "friends" and others "food." Then, one night, while they were making dinner, the two men had a lightbulb moment.
"We were making breakfast for dinner, actually, and there was bacon on the stove," Jenkins recalled. "Esther was standing in the kitchen next to us, and I remember that Derek looked at her, and then he looked at the stove, and then he looked at me. It was like we both realized the same thing at exactly the same time." Eating meat wasn't a question anymore. "We threw the bacon in the trash and we were done," Jenkins said.