Elaine West, founder of Rooterville Animal Sanctuary

Elaine West—the founder of Rooterville Animal Sanctuary, a haven housing about 300 rescued farm animals, predominantly pigs, located in Melrose, FL—recalls the first pig she met, as a kid at her aunt’s farm in Illinois, describing a love-at-first-sight sensation that’s continued for decades. West also recounts the circumstances surrounding the first pig she rescued, when she was at a Humane Society to adopt a dog, and learned the organization also had a pig on hand—that they intended to give away to some folks who planned to eat the animal. Incredulous and outraged, West says she “shamed” those folks into giving her the pig, thus starting a long string of rescued pigs that ultimately prompted her to launch Rooterville, first a three-acre facility in Jacksonville, then relocating to a 10-acre spread in Archer, and now occupying 30 acres in Melrose. (She mentions a desire to relocate once again, ideally to a 100-acre parcel in Orlando–the thinking being that tourists heading to DisneyWorld or Universal one day would visit Rooterville the next day.) West outlines what happens when visitors arrive at the sanctuary for a visit, and how Rooterville accommodates overnight guests. She shares the story of Stella, a farm pig—“a spent sow,” in West’s words, whose job was to have babies, while confined to a gestation crate—the first one she brought in to Rooterville, and one that clearly became a pivotal porcine figure at the sanctuary; she died about three years ago, but all visitors hear Stella’s story. West describes the circumstances of taking in more than 100 pigs that were seized in August of 2016 from Darlynn’s Darlins, in Polk City, some in such bad shape they had to be euthanized, many adopted out, and a number still living at Rooterville. (https://rooterville.org, https://www.facebook.com/rooterville/)

ALSO: I spoke with Kathleen Wood, Criminal Justice Program Fellow at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), where she helped prepare ALDF’s recently-released report that ranks the best and worst states for animal protection. We discussed, among other elements of the report—including the criteria used in compiling it– Florida’s ranking at Number 16, what accounted for Kentucky placing last (for many years running), and how Illinois achieved its Number 1 ranking. (http://aldf.org)

COMEDY CORNER: Jim Gaffigan’s “Whales” (portion) (http://www.jimgaffigan.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Pink Floyd’s “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

AUDIO ARCHIVE:

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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