An obese pig rescued last year after being held captive in a flat where she was fed junk food and fizzy drinks has now recovered at an animal sanctuary. Portia could not walk after being kept for seven years in the cramped Manchester flat as a “pet” on a miserable existence. 

When rescued, she was moved to Whitegate Animal Sanctuary in the Wirral, Merseyside, England, where, after losing weight, has now recovered and can walk again. 

Laura Whelan, the sanctuary’s founder, told the Liverpool ECHO, “Portia came to us last summer. She was living in someone’s flat in as a house pig, being fed junk food, biscuits and Coca-Cola. She was morbidly obese. It was horrendous. I’d never seen an animal that fat. She could barely walk. She was utterly depressed. She’s a very clever pig, and she was trapped in a horrible flat with just a yard, not even any mud. By the time we got her she’d given up on life. Sometimes she wouldn’t even get out of her bed for 48 hours – just a hard, plastic dog bed, and the blankets in the bed were horrendous, just old curtains. It was a miserable existence… She was in pain and she’d lash out and try to bite. Once she could get up and get mobile, the weight fell off her even more because she was exercising. Once she was up, there was no stopping her. She’s amazing, she’s very sassy, she has a proper piggy attitude. We have a pig field and, next to that, a cow field, and she will stand at the gate to shout at us to let her in.”

Portia shares the sanctuary with 150 other pigs, as well as chickens, cows, sheep, goats and other birds. 

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.