June 22, 2016
Newcomers are hogging the spotlight at Black Beauty Ranch
Rescued from neglect, these pigs are enjoying life at Texas sanctuary
By Cathy Vincenti
Big Papa is “large and in charge” at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, says lead caregiver Katie Birk. The approximately 600-pound pig may be a newcomer to the sanctuary, but he’s become the big man on campus.
Last fall, Farm Sanctuary helped rescue Big Papa and more than 170 other animals, from severe neglect at a farm in upstate New York. With so many animals to care for, Farm Sanctuary reached out to Black Beauty for help. The ranch agreed to take Big Papa and three other pigs—Jake, Pete and Peanut—as soon as they were healthy enough to travel. After arriving and passing their health screenings, the newcomers spent several days “sniffing noses” through the fence to get acquainted with the ranch’s other 42 pigs before joining them in the main enclosure.
“It actually went fairly well for a pig intro,” says Birk. When Big Papa was introduced, “all the other pigs just got out of his way.” Sure, there were a few challenges for the smaller newcomers, but Big Papa quickly stepped in and sent the message that these guys are off limits.
With that sorted out, the fearsome foursome set off to explore their 16-acre enclosure and seemingly put their painful past behind them. “They’re all extremely friendly and love to come up for tummy rubs and special treats,” says Birk. Jake and Pete spend their days wallowing and then romping around in the woods with little Peanut tagging along, trying to keep up.
Big Papa keeps an eye on the little guys—but also has eyes for fellow resident Gloria. She hasn’t fully accepted his friendship yet, but he seems content to admire her from afar.
Visit the ranch
Enjoy the unique and enlightening opportunity to tour the world-renowned Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch animal sanctuary. The 1,437-acre oasis in Murchison, Texas, is now open for visitors on a limited basis for scheduled, guided, educational tours occurring monthly.
Black Beauty Ranch was founded in 1979 by author and animal advocate Cleveland Amory, who wanted the sanctuary to be a place where animals are free to be animals, safe from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Bison and cattle, horses and burros, antelope and apes, tigers and a camel: all have permanent, safe homes at the ranch.
Tours of the sanctuary respect the peace and privacy of the ranch’s 43 species and almost 1,000 domestic and exotic animals, while still giving visitors the opportunity to learn their stories and see the animals living Amory’s dream. Included on the tour is a stop at the Doris Day Equine Center, where visitors can meet adoptable horses.
Get complete details and a schedule of available tour dates