You Helped Give Sanctuary to Pigs Rescued from Shabby New Jersey Petting Zoo

You Helped Give Sanctuary to Pigs Rescued from Shabby New Jersey Petting Zoo

Cosmo and Newman are two very special pot-bellied pigs who suffered for years in desperate conditions at a petting zoo in Middlesex County, New Jersey. They were rescued this summer — thanks largely to the help of a teenage activist who advocated for them… and now they have their happily ever after thanks to supporters! 

On October 15, we sponsored a housewarming party for Cosmo, 16, and Newman, 11, at Fluffy Butt Rescue, a vegan microsanctuary for farmed animals in Milford, New Jersey.

Newman (left) and Cosmo (right) feast on pumpkins at the housewarming party.

Attendees celebrated the pigs’ rescue and welcomed them into a large, insulated, state-of-the-art wooden house purchased by donations from friends and supporters, including a generous contribution from In Defense of Animals. 

Their house has a little covered front porch, three windows, a dutch door, and a gradual ramp for entering and exiting. The house has a mattress, hay, pillows, and blankets, which the pigs love burrowing into!

Watch as Cosmo and Newman go from the petting zoo to the sanctuary and are celebrated with a wonderful housewarming party.

Guests brought gifts for the honorees and socialized, scratched bellies, and smashed pumpkins for them to feast on. Human partygoers enjoyed hot local cider donated by Phillips Farms in special Cosmo and Newman mugs and custom "Home Sweet Home" vegan sugar cookies donated by Desserts by Taryn.

Cosmo and Newman’s rescue started with Siraj Gandhi, a 16-year-old from Monroe Township, New Jersey, who spearheaded a campaign to get them transferred to sanctuaries. The petting zoo where they were is one of three facilities at parks within the county referred to as “animal havens.” Yet it was clear that the animals’ needs were not being met and they were suffering from improper care in shabby, inappropriate enclosures. Gandhi had visited the park many times over the years as a child and as he got older he recognized that the animals deserved much more.

Newman and Cosmo enjoying their new home.

“For the ten years I had been visiting the county petting zoo, I had not seen Cosmo or Newman. Not once did they come out of their shed. Their food bowls turned brown and filthy, the dirt floor of the open area began to erode, and the small soccer balls placed in the pen were left untouched. It was clear that Cosmo and Newman needed more stimulation and far better care in order to roll around and live in true pig spirit,” Gandhi told us. 

“In May 2022, when I visited the park to check in on the animals, I saw Cosmo and Newman for the first time and something painful caught my eye: Cosmo’s legs were bent almost at a 90-degree angle and he was forced to hobble to get to his food. Newman, on the other hand, was extremely overweight. He had a large flap of skin over his eyes, which blocked his sight.”

Rhodes Yepsen and Siraj Gandhi give the pigs some love.

Gandhi began attending county commissioner meetings, where he showed photo and video evidence of the appalling conditions animals were left in. He urged the county to provide them with veterinary care and consider relocating them to a sanctuary. This past July, his campaign, with our support, led to Cosmo and Newman’s transfer to Fluffy Butt Rescue.

The move would be life-changing for these two pigs, who arrived in July. According to Rachel Case, founder of Fluffy Butt Rescue, the two were visibly stressed from the transport, and clearly depressed.

Rachel Case and Rhodes Yepsen, founders of Fluffy Butt Rescue, in front of Cosmo and Newman’s house.

“Cosmo was in pain from his arthritis and could only walk on his elbow. Their quarantine stall had wood chips, a mattress and blankets, and it became apparent that they never had such things at the petting zoo. When they discovered the blankets, we heard happy grunts and saw the tiniest tail wags, the first signs of happy pigs! We discovered that they really enjoyed being sung to, so we would sit in their stall, and tell them how handsome and sweet they are in song. Slowly we gained their trust and were able to touch them and even get them to roll over for belly rubs,”
Case told us. 

The pigs are now taking anti-inflammatory medications, and are getting supplements for their skin and joints. They’re also on a healthy diet and are looking much better. Case added that Cosmo is now walking on his front legs and even hops up for breakfast as soon as he hears his people coming!

Cosmo and Newman on the ramp of their cozy wooden house.

No animal deserves to be on display at a petting zoo or suffer in the name of entertainment. We are thrilled to have sponsored Cosmo and Newman’s special housewarming party and contributed to their beautiful new home. These sweet pigs are now getting all the love and care they deserve. 

Help support our contribution to Cosmo and Newman’s new house by making a donation.

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