A morbidly obese pet pig has been given a new lease of life after being rescued from an apartment where she was fed junk food and soft drinks.
The pig, named Portia, was barely able to walk after being kept in a cramped unit in Manchester, England, where she lived a “miserable existence” eating processed, sugary human foods.
The farm animal spent seven years in the apartment before she was rescued by the Whitegate Animal Sanctuary, where volunteers say she is living her best life.
Thanks to a new animal-friendly diet and plenty of room to roam, Portia has slimmed down to a much healthier 59kg. An adult potbellied pig typically weighs between 40 and 70kg, according to the North American Pet Pig Association.
Laura Whelan, who founded the sanctuary, said Portia had been in her care for about a year.
“She was living in someone’s flat as a house pig, being fed junk food, biscuits and Coca-Cola,” Ms Whelan told the Liverpool Echo.
“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.”
Ms Whelan, 41, said Portia’s health issues meant she had lost the use of one of her legs and was almost completely lame.
“At first she was still huge and struggling to get up, and we had to assist her every time,” she said.
“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.”
Ms Whelan said, despite her difficult start to life, Portia was thriving and showing off her “sassy … proper piggy attitude”.
“She’s amazing … 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. She knows when she wants to go,” she said.
When she first arrived at the sanctuary, Portia was “bullied” by other pigs who would eat her food if she wasn’t quick enough, Ms Whelan said.
“We started putting her in a little hut to eat, and now as soon as we arrive with the food she runs off to her hut and waits so she can eat in peace,” she explained.
Portia shares the sanctuary with around 150 other pigs, as well as chickens, cows, sheep, goats and other poultry.
Ms Whelan said she set it up five years ago as she wanted to rescue farm animals from the meat and dairy industry.