HomeOutdoorsNewsCouple Attempting to Save Pig at Fair Auction Horrified to Learn They Bid on Its Meat

Couple Attempting to Save Pig at Fair Auction Horrified to Learn They Bid on Its Meat

by Caitlin Berard
Pig at State Fair
(Photo by Chimperil59 via Getty Images)

A Florida couple who run a Palm Beach animal sanctuary bid on a pig at a state fair auction, planning to give it a new home. After winning the pig, however, they learned that the animal was going to the slaughterhouse anyway. Rather than paying for a live pig, they spent nearly $5,000 on pork.

Meg and Eric Weinberger, owners of the animal sanctuary, said they visited the state fair with the sole purpose of bringing home a pig. When the family spotted Bella B Swine, they instantly knew she was the one, placing the highest bid on her – $4,700 – and successfully winning the animal. It was then, however, that the trouble began.

When the Weinbergers approached fair organizers to claim Bella, they were horrified to learn that they wouldn’t be able to bring her to the sanctuary. They could either take home her meat or nothing at all, a detail that the family insists they had no knowledge of prior to bidding. Had they known it was a “terminal” livestock auction, they wouldn’t have come.

“It did not say it was a slaughter–only auction, otherwise we’d have turned around and walked away,” Meg Weinberger told The Guardian. “They said it was state law that the animal had to be slaughtered, but other fairs in Florida allow auction winners to take the animals with them. You can keep the meat, donate the meat, or take the animal home.”

Florida Fair Declines Private Purchase of Pig

With their purchase of the pig via auction declined, the Weinbergers contacted the Florida Department of Agriculture to ask about the possibility of a private sale – fair officials, however, declined this offer as well. “I waited six hours until the end of the auction, and this lady walks in and says, ‘That’s the way it is, it’s a termination sale,'” she said.

According to Vicki Chouris, President and CEO of the South Florida Fair, the rules of the pig auction were extremely clear from the beginning. Aspiring farmers across the state raise livestock animals for slaughter, then auction them off at the fair.

“We are a venue for young people in our community to learn how to be ranchers and farmers,” she said. “The process is they raise the animal for food consumption. That is the reason why. To change those rules mid-stream because somebody wants to take an animal home is not ethical. These children are being told how to follow rules.”

The Weinbergers fired back, however, claiming that rules were in fact not clear. The animal sanctuary owners claimed the rules were not on the website, the brochures, nor displayed on any signage at the fair or auction. And as it turns out, they were right.

“Unfortunately it was not there,” Chouris said. “It will be in the future and we are all learning from this experience.”

In the end, fair organizers didn’t charge the Weinbergers, and Bella the pig is at a butcher’s facility. The Weinberger family says they haven’t given up and will continue to fight for Bella’s life.