World's most famous pig not legally allowed cancer treatment because she's a 'food animal'
Esther the Wonder Pig is loved by millions of fans from around the world. They had her back when she fell ill recently.
Her "human fathers" – Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter – noticed that she was sluggish and they were worried she might have a heart condition.
Unfortunately, the local veterinarian couldn't scan the 650-pound pig and getting her from Toronto across the border to the States proved equally hard.
Read more on our Twitter account, @amomama_usa. The rest of the story continues below.
While it would be the end of the road for most pets, Esther is no ordinary animal, and her fan base is not ordinary either.
To diagnose the beloved pig, more than $650,000 were collected in donations from her loyal supporters.
The funds were used to buy a scanner which was installed at a local university and would be used to diagnose other animals as well.
Esther was cleared of a heart defect, but unfortunately, the scanner found a tumor. She had breast cancer.
The next part of her uphill battle began because Esther is classified as a "food animal" and not as a pet.
That means that she isn't allowed to receive a plethora of medications, including chemotherapy and radiation.
Ester might sleep on a bed, eat cupcakes like a human and think she's a dog, but when it comes to legalities, her rights are restricted.
Thankfully, her veterinarian could remove the pre-cancerous mammary tumors, and Esther was given a clean bill of health once more.
Despite the unpleasantness of the situation, it has opened up the debate about "what makes a dog a pet and a pig, food."
And hopefully, she'll get to save other non-conventional pets in the long run.
Her "human father" Jenkins remarked:
"She's kind of paying a price and paving the road at the same time. We were able to get this scanner, which is great. It's going to make things easier for other animals going forward."
Esther has shown to the world that pigs are compassionate animals, and a farmer from Gentle Barn in Tennessee confirmed this with a viral video.
He noticed that one of his pigs took food across the pen every day, and soon realized that the pig was caring for his ill brother.
The pigs, Horton and Henry, share a close bond and their story can be read here.