My name is Annabel Ruffell and I am the founder of Journey for Earth, a global awareness company committed to inspiring change for humanity, the environment and animals, one choice at a time.
Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter inherited Esther, affectionately nicknamed their “wonder pig,” from an acquaintance on Facebook, completely under the impression their beloved new pet was a miniature pig that would grow no larger than 70 pounds. She is now 400 pounds! She was born in the Summer of 2012 to what Steve and Derek believe was a commercial farm litter. She was somehow removed. Perhaps because she was a runt. Somehow she found her way to them.
Esther made them look at themselves and what they were supporting every time they spent money on day to day goods which supported animal exploitation and cruelty. They decided they couldn’t do it anymore. Morally and ethically it made sense to become vegan. They did it one step at a time and although it was a learning curve they have been able to make the switch quite easily.
“To have this relationship with Esther and know how smart she is, and the level of awareness and level of humanness, there’s just something about her eyes,” says Jenkins. “To meet her and look at her eyes, you don’t see something, you see someone.”
1) What Journey are YOU on?
A very unexpected one! We never imagined Esther grabbing hold of so many hearts in such a short amount of time. We’ve become “accidental activists” in a way as all we ever really wanted was to show our friends and family our pig. We hoped they would see what we do and ideally make a few changes in their lives as far as diet was concerned, but we never thought she would make her way around the world. We’ve now accepted the fact that this is what we’re meant to be doing. We’re raising awareness of these incredible animals and letting people see them in a whole new light. This is a side of “farm pigs” people didn’t know existed and it’s having a major effect on people. We call it “the Esther effect” Our journey now is to make sure it spreads as far and wide as possible in an approachable non confrontational way. We’re building something very easy for people to relate to, the relationship between humans and their animals. We’re putting a face on food.
2) What has been one of your greatest challenges over the years, either with the work that you do or in another area of your life, and how did you overcome it?
We have both been presented with a few very heavy challenges and raising Esther was one of them. We had no experience whatsoever with raising pigs. She tested us to our limits but we both agreed and accepted that we had made this commitment to her, and we were going to see it through. The only way we made it through was by keeping a positive attitude about it. No matter what happened we told ourselves “it’ll get better, she’s settling down” we just kept believing that we were doing the right thing for the right reasons and believed that we could do it. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you tell yourself it’s possible.
3) What is your greatest hope for our planet at this time?
Our greatest hope is that humans wake up and realize this planet isn’t ours, we just live here. It’s so heartbreaking when people say “We’re top of the food chain” or “It won’t matter once we’re gone” Those thoughtless comments blow our mind. We need to realize that our actions today are shaping the world for those who follow us. We’re doing irreparable damage to our oceans, polluting our air and destroying our forests all in the name of greed and selfishness. We need to wake up now before it’s too late. We’ve already lost entire species and there seems to be a sense of invincibility among humans that is really scary.
What Journey are YOU on?