Life on Their Terms
High in the Cumberland Mountains of Middle Tennessee, sits a beautiful piece of land… 100-acres of rolling hills with lush pastures; deep woods full of oaks, maples and nut trees; and four spring-fed ponds. If you listen carefully, you will hear the soft, deep, guttural grunts and "oofs" of small groups of pigs as they meander slowly down the holler to the big pond. Here they will spend the warm afternoon swimming and lounging peacefully in the cool mud on the banks... a tranquil scene rarely spoiled by the presence of humans.
Welcome to The Pig Preserve. This peaceful sanctuary is home to almost 125 rescued pigs: miniature; feral; and a large number of farms pigs from babies to 1200 pound adults. The Pig Preserve is a very different kind of sanctuary. Here rescued pigs are allowed and encouraged to live their lives as pigs…just as nature intended.
Each pig has access to the entire 100 acres. The pigs form their own social groups and each group is provided a large shelter. The shelters are placed in the area where each social group has chosen to live. They have but one responsibility here: to be pigs.
The Pig Preserve is operated by Rich and Laura Hoyle, who both have over 25 years of experience in the rescue and care of pigs of all breeds. As sanctuary director and primary animal caregiver, Rich is spending his retirement years making sure each and every animal has the opportunity to thrive and enjoy life to the fullest.
Before 'retiring' to create his dream for the pigs, Rich was a dedicated US Marine, Vietnam veteran, firefighter, EMT and Fire Chief. He is an unlikely choice to spend the twilight of his life saving and working with abused and abandoned pigs…but his dedication to them is total and complete and his love for these much-maligned animals is an all-consuming passion. His wife, Laura, is a true partner in the sanctuary and pitches in around The Preserve as much as her five-six day a week work schedule permits.
This small all-volunteer, mom and pop run sanctuary is a tiny slice of heaven on earth not only for the 125 pigs, but also for the 8 dogs, 17 cats, and the teeming wildlife population. Sanctuary is extended to all living creatures at The Pig Preserve.
Advocating a vegan lifestyle, we strive to promote kindness to all through education, outreach, and by sharing stories of the many individual beings that call The Preserve home. The ecology and natural sustainability of the sanctuary's ecosystem is also extremely important to the Hoyles. Each year they repair the pastures and replant natural grasses. In addition, the sanctuary has undertaken an aggressive tree planting program, including apple and nut trees, which eventually will help sustain the pigs on a natural diet.
Our original sanctuary, called Mini-Pigs, Inc. was founded in Culpeper, VA over 20 years ago. At first, the sanctuary only rescued potbellied/miniature pigs. As we began accepting the larger farm pig breeds, we soon realized the nomadic and social nature of these gentle giants and the concept of a preserve began to unfold. In April of 2006, the Hoyles dissolved 17 acre Mini-Pigs, Inc., relocated to 100 beautiful acres in Tennessee, and The Pig Preserve began.
Many of the animals arriving at the sanctuary come to us with histories of terrible abuses at the hands of humans. But, within a short time, virtually every animal here has learned to trust the caretakers and has responded positively to the life style and environment that The Pig Preserve offers. Our animals are healthy, safe, happy and extremely content. Many go on to live long and happy lives…lives far exceeding what is considered normal for a pig. This tells us that The Pig Preserve is doing something right and good. We are hopeful that more farmed animal sanctuaries will adopt our preserve model in the future.