The plight of a pig called Billy was the inspiration behind one man’s dream to create an animal sanctuary.
When Allan McEnroe (33), who has been an animal lover all his live, heard that Billy’s elderly owner could no longer look after him he started thinking of ways he could help.
The only problem was the lady in question lived in Leeds, so distance was a factor.
And time was too, since local yobs were reported making threats to kill and eat Billy for breakfast.
Allan, who lives with his partner Emma in Poplar Street, said: “I was vegetarian for about ten years and then three years ago became vegan. I got involved in groups and online activism, things like that.
“Last May I heard about Billy. I thought, I know people with sanctuaries who could take him, but how do I get Billy to them?”
Allan, who used to be an HGV driver, certainly had the skills to drive a truck down to Leeds and return with the animal, but he did not have a truck and was not sure about the legal ramifications of transporting a pig.
In the end, Billy was saved by other animal lovers down south, but Allan had now started the process which would see him purchase the secondhand seven-and-a-half ton vehicle – formerly used by a Norwich dairy farmer to transport livestock to slaughter – which became the Animal Liberation Truck.
“As for the legal aspect of transporting animals,” said Allan. “I found out you only need licences if you are doing it to make money. It’s my personal truck and I’m choosing to do this.
“We don’t go picking random animals up, we usually have people come to us to tell us about animals at risk or those who need a home. The farthest we’ve travelled so far is Dover, where we picked up ten pigs and brought them back to a sanctuary in Helensburgh.”
The Animal Liberation Truck has been on the road for less than a year, but it did not take Allan long to realise most sanctuaries in the UK are now full of rescued animals and cannot take any more.
This got him thinking about starting his own animal sanctuary – a place that would not turn any creature away, whether they be cat, dog, cow, pig, sheep or some other furry or feathered friend.
That’s when plans for the Everykind Animal Sanctuary started to be drawn up.
“I thought, why not just try it. It’s going to have to be ten to 15 miles from here, no more than that. We need to find land to start it – its all about the fundraising just now.
“The main aim is to save animals but once the sanctuary is up and running people could come and spend as long as they like with the animals and get rid of their misconceptions about them. I mean people think pigs are dirty, but they’re actually clean and one of the smartest animals on the planet.
“I believe a lot of farmers love their animals, but they’re in a rut, because this is the way it has always been for them.”
Allan admits the amount of money he is looking to raise to make the Everykind Animal Sanctuary a reality is a bit steep – over £300,000 – but he is hopeful there are animal lovers out there just like him who would be willing to get behind the project.
He said: “I believe people are good and want to help – there must be people out there who can help Everykind Animal Sanctuary in some way, whether it comes through access to land, funds or skills – maybe there is someone out there who is sitting on land that would be perfect for the sanctuary. We have a small team in place now and we will be holding fund raising events throughout the year. It’s about building support – without people’s support you can’t really do anything. If you love animals then you can show it by supporting the sanctuary.”
Visit www.facebook.com/EverykindAnimalSanctuary for more information.