FAQ

Here you’ll find all the answers to your burning questions!

1. Sam

Sam is a pig of almost 9 years old who has given birth to 240 piglets since she was first impregnated at 6 months old. Never did she have a chance to see her babies grow, nor have space to mother them. She was bred into existence to serve the meat industry.

But this will be no more, because Sam has been rescued by Melief Animal Sanctuary. For the first time in her short life, she will not sleep on a concrete floor, or between metal bars. Now, she gets to put her head down on a warm bed of straw. For the first time, she has given birth to her babies surrounded by humans that love her and has become a mother that can actually nourish her children.

After 9 years, she experiences what it is like to be a pig. Her life and those of her babies will be told in memory and honor of the 1.5 billion pigs that are slaughtered across the world every year.

In the documentary ‘My Mom Sam’, produced by House of Animals, we will follow Sam and 5 of her piglets for over a year to show the world what kind of beings pigs truly are. In the Netherlands alone there are more than 13 million pigs living behind the walls of the industry, but no one knows their heats. How smart they actually are, what they like, what they love, what makes them angry, happy or sad remains a mystery.

Follow Sam and piglets on Instagram for more updates!

Sam comes from a farmer whose livelihood depends on the impregnation and killing of sentient beings. A serendipity of events however, ensured Sam’s rescue. That made her a lucky one, because there are many just as beautiful and smart beings like Sam that have come before and will come after her, who will not experience what it is to see the light of day, feel the warm sun or the cool mud on their skin, make a nest out of straw or see their children grow up. We owe it to Sam and all the others who weren’t and will not be so lucky, to tell their story.

Before her rescue, Sam was ‘just a number’ in the livestock industry, bred into existence to serve as a breeding machine for over 9 years to 240 piglets, since she was 6 months old. At one point, ‘her’ farmer however had too many sows who were pregnant for which he didn’t have enough space for. Being an older pig, her farmer decided to let her go and, to our luck, we found ourselves at the right moment to save her. Call it luck. Call it faith. One way or the other, Sam became the one who got away and whose story we get to share in honor of her, her history, her future, her babies and all the others who have not been and will not be so lucky.

Sam is living at Melief Animal Sanctuary where she can stay the rest of her life in peace and freedom, surrounded by beings – two and four legged – who love her.

Sam is an old lady, and after nine years of birthing piglets continuously, her body is worn out. 

She has been through so much. Her eyes tell stories that make us shiver and we see it in her body; worn down and broken. But not her heart. Her heart beats for her 9 piglets, who are alive and well and for this new life she is discovering. She walks around, loves to play with water, enjoys napping in warm straw and is crazy about munching down the eggs that she finds laying around on the grounds of Melief.

Sam was living on a concrete floor for 9 years. Her joints are saggy and her hooves were unable to develop properly to support her. This has resulted in her now waddling instead of walking. At Melief Animal Sanctuary, she is under very good supervision and Marc and Lothar do everything to give her the care she needs and to make her as comfortable as possible.

2. Documentary

House of Animals wants to show the individual behind the walls of the meat industry. We focus on pigs, because although they are such smart, intelligent and sentient beings, they are yet among the most abused.

When Sam was rescued her story and those of her children became the heart of the documentary. Since her rescue, the people at Melief Animal Sanctuary are doing everything they can to make life for Sam and her children as comfortable as possible, and give them the space they need to discover what it’s like to truly be a pig. House of Animals has been present every step of the way, documenting their new lives as they unfold.

Sam’s babies were born on March 16th, 2021. On the IG account @mymomsam, you can read and follow everything that happened after they arrived.

Currently we are still in the process of making the documentary. We expect it to launch in 2022 on various platforms, but do not have specifics yet.

The documentary is a project of House of Animals. Melief Animal Sanctuary created a home for Sam and her piglets, and will take care of them for the rest of their lives. The documentary is part of a bigger campaign driven by volunteers who are responsible for everything around My Mom Sam. Get to know the team!

The documentary is expected to launch in 2022. Until then, please be sure to follow Sam and her children on Instagram where you can read all about their adventures and development.

3. Piglets

We wished for names that resonate with each individual character. So we have closely observed all the unfolding personalities of the piglets that will stay living at Melief over the course of a few weeks.

With this project, we highlight the brilliance of pigs. But we also hope that this is simply a mark for the beginning of an adventure that ends in humans opening their hearts to cows, goats, sheep, sharks, bees, turkeys, chickens, mice, pangolins, tapirs and everyone else. That’s why we decided to name the pigs after species of the animal kingdom. See it as an ode to all who roam this planet!

Meet the piglets: SHARKY, BUMBLEBEE, HIPPO, BUNNY and TAPIR

Some of the piglets have experienced some setbacks in the beginning of their lives and unfortunately, two have left us. However the rest have pulled through and are doing wonderfully.

The documentary first started with the idea to follow two piglets over the course of one year. Melief Animal Sanctuary was willing to give a home to these two piglets, who would grow to be strong individuals weighing about 100 kilo’s or more.

But then everything changed. Because of a miraculous set of events, we could rescue Sam, pregnant with what we thought were 8 babies. After learning about her history, we knew we had to tell her story and the story of those of the other pigs who wouldn’t be so lucky. We had to act fast. Otherwise, Sam would be sent to slaughter. So in a period of 2 weeks, Sam got rescued, arrived at Melief and gave birth to not 8, but 11 piglets! 

Melief now found itself with a sheltered mom and more piglets than expected. Our next move was then to start looking for good, loving homes for four babies to live their natural, happy lives in and be cared for in a way we believe pigs deserve. That is why we are so grateful that good friends of Melief offered to adopt some of the piglets. They’ve also been involved since the start, and have space in their land and hearts to care for these animals in the same way Lothar and Marc do. Trust us, these homes have been picked out personally by Lothar, so that the piglets will be safe is simply a given.

We take these choices very seriously, and they don’t come easy. But we’re so happy and grateful that all turned out better than we imagined, with all the piglets hopefully living long and happy lives. 

Sam gave birth to 11 piglets. However, two unfortunately passed away. We have been heartbroken over this loss. Marc & Lothar have done everything they possibly can to support Sam and piglets and they have been supervised by amazing vets. The reality is that the beings bred in and for the industry can have a lot of underlying suffering, and the health challenges they experience can be immense. Sometimes, something just happens and no one, not even the vets, knows what caused it. It is a terrible and unnecessary ordeal that we hope can stop existing together with this industry as a whole. Instead, we hope to focus our actions and choices to be in service and favor of the animals that still roam this planet. We are grateful and impressed by all the work that Marc & Lothar are doing. They are setting a new standard for a way of interacting with the furry beings of this world in a loving, harmonious and supporting way.

4. Help & More

Melief Animal Sanctuary has an open house every Saturday from 2-4 PM. You can visit Sam and the piglets then. Check their website for updates, regulations, time and address.

Follow Sam and the piglets on Instagram for updates!

You can help Sam and the piglets by donating. Everything will be used for the care of Sam and the piglets and for creating the documentary. Thank you!