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Couple Who Won Pig Wanted to Bring Her Home. The Fair: Nope

South Florida Fair insisted 'terminal' auction rules couldn't be changed to save swine from slaughter
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2023 9:30 AM CST
Couple Who Won Pig Wanted to Bring Her Home. The Fair: Nope
Stock photo of a different pig.   (Getty Images/63alfred)

When Meg and Eric Weinberger recently attended the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach, they had their eyes open for a pig to bring home to their animal sanctuary, Rescue Life in nearby Palm Beach Gardens. They became enamored with one pig in particular named Bella B Swine, and their $4,700 bid at the fair's auction for Bella made them the winner, reports the Guardian. What the Weinbergers say they didn't know, however, is that they'd just taken part in a "terminal" auction—meaning the price they paid was for the pig's meat, not the pig itself.

Meg Weinberger says fair officials refused to take her credit card once they found out she intended to take the pig home alive, informing her that, according to state law, it was required that they slaughter the pig. Weinberger disputes that there was anything legal precluding the pig from coming home with her family, as other Florida fairs offered different options for animals won at auctions. "You can keep the meat, donate the meat, or take the animal home," she says. However, South Florida Fair CEO Vicki Chouris tells CBS News that the auction process involves spelled-out rules by which kids across the state "learn how to be ranchers and farmers" by raising livestock that's then auctioned off for food consumption.

"To change those rules midstream because somebody wants to take an animal home is not ethical," she says. Chouris, who tells the Palm Beach Post that she hasn't had something like this happen in the nearly 40 years she's been with the fair, says those rules are posted on the fair's website, though she admits that fair brochures and signage about the slaughtering need to be made more clear. The fair's online market auction handbook remained offline as of Friday morning.

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The Weinbergers say they didn't see the rules on the fair's website, either. "We'd have turned around and walked away" if signs indicated the pig they were bidding on was to be slaughtered, Meg Weinberger tells the Guardian. She notes that she and her husband will give the nearly $5,000 they paid for Bella to the teen girl who raised her. Weinberger says the 16-year-old is distressed over the publicity all of this is getting, noting, "She's been through so much." It's not clear if Bella has already been killed, but Chouris indicates that it's a done deal, as the pig has been transported to a butcher's facility. The 186 pounds of meat "will go to a charitable organization," she tells CBS. (More pig stories.)

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