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Meet Melanie Moreau of My Pig Filled Life Mini Pig Rescue

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Moreau. 

Hi Melanie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Six years ago, I didn’t know that mini pigs much less mini pig rescues existed. Today, I have almost 300 mini pigs under my care at My Pig Filled Life Rescue and Sanctuary (MPFL)! Today, MPFL is a safe place for abandoned mini pigs to mourn the loss of their humans and to heal and learn to trust again, in hopes of one day finding their forever family. 

My life was very full, very rewarding when I discovered these amazing little creatures that we know as mini pigs. My day job is Vice President of a foodservice supply chain consulting group. I have a wonderful supportive family and was very active in my church. I moved to a farm in June 2015, which gave me the opportunity to discover the joy of pet mini pigs. I began to educate myself and, in the process, began to understand their plight – caught between the world of slaughterhouses and unethical breeders who advertise them as teacup or micro pigs, misunderstood, abandoned, neglected, and abused by the thousands every year. The rescue community estimates that 90% of pet mini pigs are abandoned before their second birthday – dumped to fend for themselves, torn away from families they’ve bonded with, sold for food, and worse. It became my calling to help these innocents. Ultimately it was the tragic death of my father in late 2016 that marked the launch of my rescue. My initial herd of 13 mini pigs brought me comfort, hope, and healing. Our start in 2016, unbeknownst to me at the time, was symbolic of the vast range of emotional experiences that would mark my life moving forward, as I lost friends and loved ones, saw the best and worst of humans, and steadfastly faced every rescue situation as an advocate for the pigs. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
My work at My Pig Filled Life has been incredibly rewarding, but the personal cost has been great. My job as an executive at Welch Advisory Group is demanding, and when it’s over each day, I still have to care for the piggies. Sometimes the cost is a night of sleep; other times there is a toll on the entire family unit. My work is never done – I continually promote the welfare of pigs and educate the public about our rescue. Fundraising, searching for ongoing sources of donations, seeking volunteers to help with the farm, and give each pig the love and attention they desperately need… Caring for them takes an emotional, financial and physical toll every day. 

The emotional toll is harder to measure. We truly do see the very best and worst of humanity as we find pigs that have been severely neglected, but also families that are forced to surrender their pigs despite their deep love for them. We receive calls to rescue pigs every day. Sadly, there are many we can’t save because of constraints we have on key resources: including funding, volunteers, food, hay and straw, facilities, and land. Land is our greatest challenge and not one that’s easily solved. But we continue to search for solutions. 

The joy of overcoming seemingly insurmountable hurdles keeps me moving forward. We take in a pig with a spinal injury, and through intensive rehabilitation, she regains mobility and becomes one of our most loving rescues. Or an obese, fat-blind neglected pig who hasn’t known love or safety for 15 years. We filled his final months with love, warmth, gentle hands, and soft voices. 

One of our greatest challenges, in 2019, was our intake of 55(!) pigs who had been overbred and left to die slowly from starvation, lack of water, and disease. The outpouring of support from a community that rallied to save these pigs was breathtaking. We triaged the sickest pigs, arranged fencing and housing for them on our farm, transported these terrified and unsocialized creatures to our rescue home, and raised funds to address basic necessities and health issues, not to mention spay and neuter every pig. We persevered, and today the #killeen 55 live peacefully here on the farm. Our Valentine’s fundraiser should raise enough funds to build a new barn for the herd – these pigs aren’t getting any smaller! 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We’re situated on 20 acres in Wills Point, Texas. MPFL has operated as a mini pig rescue and sanctuary since 2016, and as a nonprofit organization since 2017. We also give shelter to several full-size farm pigs and small assortment of other rescued animals. Our fiscal responsibility and transparency have been recognized by Guidestar, the information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies, with its highest recognition, the Platinum Seal of Transparency. We operate as a business, with our fiscal performance overseen by our Board of Directors, and we have operated in the black since inception. Our leaders function in their roles without compensation, ensuring that every dollar we receive in donation goes directly to the benefit of our rescues. Our 20,000+ supporters, including volunteers, donors, and social media followers, make it possible for us every day to live our mission: to promote and support the rescue and care of mini pigs by providing the compassion, commitment, and companionship they deserve. 

I’m thankful every day for the business skills I brought to this endeavor. It’s not hard to feel empathy for the plight of abused and homeless animals and to wish to rescue them. Creating a sustainable business that delivers on that wish is a completely different story. 

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Allow me to begin with what I have devoted my life to: advocating for pigs. On their behalf, I speak directly to those interested in having a mini pig, or those who have never heard of pet pigs but get excited at the prospect of such a unique pet. 

First, understand their size. Mini pigs are smaller than farm pigs, which can weigh up to 1,000 lbs. But they are not small. Healthy mini pigs weigh 75 to 200 lbs. “Teacup” and “micro pigs”, like unicorns, are mythological only. It is myth perpetuated by mini pig breeders in search of quick buck. 

Second, understand what having one really means BEFORE you act. Pigs are intelligent, emotional, loving, comical, and delightful in so many ways. But make no mistake: they are high maintenance, prey animals whose behavior is complex and so easily misunderstood. Think of them as toddlers in pig’s clothing, who live for 15-20 years. Ensure your path includes a visit to a pig rescue – there are more than 550 across the U.S.! There you will see and experience first-hand what pigs are all about. Avoid breeders entirely. Their ranks are populated by gifted liars in search of quick buck. 

For those considering establishing a rescue, I advise you to actively volunteer first with a nearby rescue and then decide if you can manage the 24/7 schedule and the emotional and financial toll. Running a rescue is life-changing – you literally lose the life you have and replace it with something else. It requires empathy, selflessness, the ability to make heartbreaking life and death decisions. But it also demands the ability to run a business, continuously raise money, and meet your commitments to your rescued animals for the next 20 years. How many of us are willing to forgo even a vacation for 20 years? If you proceed down this path, consider taking over an existing rescue whose owners are ready to retire and may not have a succession plan. It’s important that in the process of trying to help, none of us become part of the problem. 


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