US couple who bid for pig at auction to rescue it find they were buying its meat | Florida

A Florida couple who won a pig at a state fair auction, intending to save it from the slaughterhouse, discovered the animal would be killed anyway and they had spent $4,700 on its meat.

Meg and Eric Weinberger, who run the Rescue Life sanctuary in Palm Beach Gardens, insist officials from the South Florida Fair gave no notification that they were bidding in a “terminal” auction of livestock raised solely for processing.

They believe but have not been able to confirm that the pig they fell in love with, named Bella B Swine by the teen who raised it, has now been killed. They say fair managers told them they were only entitled to the 186lbs of meat.

“It did not say it was a slaughter–only auction, otherwise we’d have turned around and walked away,” Meg Weinberger said.

“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.”

Weinberger said she called the Florida department of agriculture after the fair refused to run her credit card, and established that a private sale was possible. But fair officials weren’t interested, she said.

“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.

She said she called the slaughterhouse in a last-ditch attempt to save the hog, but “they called me back and said they weren’t willing to lose their contract with the state fair over one pig.”

Victoria Chouris, president and chief executive of the South Florida Fair, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chouris conceded to the Palm Beach Post that the auction registration form did not indicate the pigs would be processed for food, but that its website did. On Thursday, the fair’s market auction handbook was inaccessible online.

“We always assume bidders are familiar with the rules and review them on our website. We will revise the registration form to make it clear that this is a terminal auction,” Chouris told the Post, adding that the fair had conducted such auctions for decades.

Most pigs at the fair sell for about $1,900, the Post said. Weinberger said she and her husband were willing to pay more to support teenagers getting a first taste in farming by participating in a 4-H agriculture program, raising the animals for auction.

She said the teenager who raised Bella B Swine from a piglet, a 16-year-old girl, was upset by the dispute and had taken down an Instagram page used to chronicle the animal’s growth.

“She’s been through so much,” Weinberger said, adding that she and her husband made sure the youth received the entire $4,700.

Chouris told CBS Miami the meat would be donated to charity.

“We are all learning from this experience,” she said.

Becky Brashear, the fair’s director of business development, told the Post a private sale was not possible because the pigs were not raised to be with other animals.

Weinberger dismissed the claim, saying she suspected the fair did not want to advertise it was conducting slaughter auctions for public relations reasons.

“I know people eat meat, eat bacon, but they don’t want to know that the pig they just saw at the fair is the one that’s going to be on their plate,” she said.

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