The SPCA says staff members at a Vancouver Island branch have endured withering public criticism after arranging the adoption of a potbellied pig that was later butchered by its new owner.
Spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk said workers at the Cowichan branch in Duncan were already upset about the death of the pig, named Molly.
“They are just getting inundated with nastiness,” she said Tuesday, days after the society confirmed that Molly had been destroyed by her new owner, barely a month after being adopted.
Molly and 56 other pigs were seized during a cruelty investigation on Vancouver Island in 2016 and Chortyk said the British Columbia society was responsible for finding new homes for all the animals.
Media outlets are reporting that the man who adopted Molly was pleading for an end to death threats in a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
The man could not be reached for comment, but in the post he reportedly apologizes, saying he did not adopt Molly with the intention of killing her, but she was aggressive towards other animals in the home.
Chortyk said the man signed an agreement specifically promising not to slaughter the pig and knew it could be returned to the SPCA, but his actions are legal because he owned Molly and she died humanely.
“We totally understand why people are upset. I mean, no one is more upset than we are, but I think we have done everything we can,” she said of the society’s process to find safe homes for its animals.
Chortyk said the incident was the first of its kind in her 17 years at the society. Because the pig had a name, she said it’s possible people thought of it more as a pet than a farm animal.
“The saddest thing is that no one seems to care that millions of pigs die in factory farms every year,” she said.
She said the legalities are complex but the society is reassessing its adoption contracts. In the meantime, the man who adopted Molly has been identified in the society database and will be barred from any future adoptions.
A statement from the Agriculture Ministry released Tuesday said it is always open to ideas on how to improve animal welfare policy and legislation, but it will not be conducting a review of either one of those in this incident.
Story from The Canadian Press