Compassion Files

Compassion Files: Esther the Wonder Pig

Learning Compassion from Esther the Wonder Pig & Family

This week we are beyond excited to share with you a very special story.  Meet Esther the Wonder Pig. We first heard about Esther from our friends at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary. Esther has captured the hearts of many people and become an online sensation. Her Facebook page has over 100,000 likes and counting. Esther and her dads, Steve and Derek are on a mission to spread this compassion message and what great ambassadors they are.

Meet Esther the Wonder Pig
Esther is a pig. That’s really all we know since she was misrepresented as a “micropig”. She was born in Summer of 2012 to what we believe was a commercial farm litter. She was somehow removed. Perhaps because she was a runt. Somehow she found her way to us.

Esther Cheering on Team Canada

Esther Cheering on Team Canada

What does compassion mean to you?
Compassion to us means being aware of how your actions will effect others. It’s that good old golden rule of “treat others the way you would like to be treated”  We think that applies to everyone, both human and animal.

What motivates you to make compassionate choices in your daily life?
We have the power to stop the craziness and totally unnecessary cruelty of modern factory farming.  We had the opportunity to get to know Esther and when we realized how incredibly smart and sensitive she was; imagining her in the life she was born for is almost unbearable.  She has the most incredible sense of fun and playfulness, and a level of intelligence that neither of us had ever experienced before despite being lifelong dog owners.  There’s just something different about Esther, and knowing her brothers and sisters endured a horrific life just so somebody cold enjoy a slice of bacon is just not acceptable to us.  When those trucks go by on the highway it might as well be full of golden retrievers, or labradors as far as we’re concerned.  The only difference is our perception.

Why is living a compassionate life important to you?
Because we’re human beings and we should know better.  we should know enough to make ourselves aware of what happens behind barn doors and know exactly where your food comes from.  Most of us haven’t the slightest clue because we just can’t look.  We can’t take a few minutes to understand what these animals go through for us because we know that if we actually did, we could never look at dinner the same way again.  If we all truly knew what was happening to those poor animals because society constantly wants more for less there would be outrage.  They have been reduced to bar codes and product numbers, but we have the power to change that.  That’s why this is so important to us.  Esther forced us to take a minute, really look at ourselves, and truly understand what we were doing by looking the other way.

Can you share some examples of how you choose to be compassionate throughout your day?
We have eliminated animal products from our diet.  It was a learning curve at first but we are quickly getting used to it and even as a self admitted “fussy eater” have absolutely no trouble.  We also try to be aware of where animal products exist in other areas of our lives and do our best to make consistent choices. From clothing to cleaners, it has forced us to be much more conscious of what’s on the label.  Like I said it took so getting used too but before long it was second nature. We’ve tried more new and amazing food in the last 12 months than either of us did in the last 10 years combined, it’s been amazing.

What are some tips you can provide to people looking to practice compassion towards themselves, other people, the planet and animals?
Take it one step at a time and go at your own pace.  Don’t let anyone tell you “You’re doing it wrong” or “You aren’t doing enough” every little bit helps and with time and some commitment you will find a whole new and amazing world of culinary choices you never even considered before.  Don’t be afraid of the unknown, just because a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle sounds daunting or scary, you’ll never really know until you try it.  Consider trying ‘meatless Monday” to start off and add a day or two at your own pace.  It is so much easier than you think, and so incredibly rewarding to know you’re doing your part to make the world a better place for us and our animal friends.  We have other options that are better for us, the animals and the environment.


Thank you Steve and Derek for taking time to share your story and what compassion means to your family. Want to know more about Esther? Click on the social media links below or visit Steve and Derek have a goal to one day open a sanctuary. You can help them turn this dream into reality by supporting the Esther Store.

Facebook  | Twitter |InstagramYouTube

What does compassion mean to you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Compassion Files: Amber Gionet

Welcome to the Compassion Files! This is our first post of the blog. The blog will feature posts about VegBash, animals that have captured our hearts, as well as profile inspiring people who are making a positive difference and living a compassionate life. This week we're kicking things off by featuring Amber Gionet.

Amber at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary

Amber at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary

This week we are excited to feature Amber Gionet, who is passionate about making this world a better place and is an active volunteer with Boston Terrier Rescue Canada and recently formed London Chicken Save.

Amber was kind enough to answer our questions below about what compassion means to her.

Amber Gionet

First, here’s a brief introduction about Amber:

Hello, My name is Amber Gionet. I am 30 years old and have been vegetarian for 8 years and vegan for just over a year. I love my boston terriers, yoga, hiking, live music, comedy and road trips. I volunteer for Boston Terrier Rescue Canada and I recently started London Chicken Save (modelled from Toronto Pig Save and other Save Movements). I am inspired mostly by my own passion, as well as passionate and positive people.

What does ccompassion mean to you?
Compassion to me means being in tune with your intuition and doing what is right. Compassion is about empathizing with others and understanding vulnerability. I don’t think compassion should stop at human to human, but it should also extend to all living animals.

What motivates you to make compassionate choices in your daily  life?
I am motivated to make compassionate choices by my desire to not cause any harm to others. If you can look someone(human or not) in the eye, then you can connect and relate to them. It is as simple as if you know better, do better.

Why is living a compassionate life important to you?
I think living a compassionate life is extremely important because it literally saves lives. I also feel that we, as a society, need to have more accountability for our actions and really be the change we wish to see in the world.

Can you share some examples of how you choose to be compassionate throughout your day?
Being vegan is the best way I know how to live with true compassion and love towards animals. For me, living a vegan lifestyle changed me as a person. I became more aware, more positive and set on making better overall choices as a consumer. This year I am focusing on buying organic and local. I also try to do random acts of kindness whenever possible and inspire others.

What are some tips you can provide to people looking to practice compassion towards themselves, other people, the planet and animals?
A great tip to anyone is to get involved. Follow your gut and if you know something is wrong speak up, make changes and do better next time. Volunteer! Surround yourself with people that inspire you. I also invite anyone to join London Chicken Save. We are a small group dedicated to paying respect to the animals losing their lives for food. We bear witness to their journey to the slaughter house. No matter how a food animal is treated while alive, the end result is the same. Lives are being taken and it’s unnecessary. Whether you eat meat or not, bearing witness is important. If we were about to die, we would want someone to take notice.

Amber at a recent Toronto Pig Save Vigil Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals

Amber at a recent Toronto Pig Save Vigil
Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals

You can learn more about London Chicken Save here and connect with Amber if you’d like to get involved.

We’re grateful that Amber shared her story with us and some tips on how to live a compassionate life. Do you have ideas for who we could feature in an upcoming edition of the compassion files? We’d love to hear your suggestions. Email Krista at

28 Days of Compassion


Follow along with VegFest London on social media for 28 days of compassion. Throughout the month of February we will be sharing ways we can all work towards being more compassionate to ourselves, other people, animals and the planet. We hope you'll join us and share how you live a compassionate life as well.

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