FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS Miami)
A South Florida Fair auction is spurring up some controversy after one family says they won a bid for a pig but then walked away empty-handed, and the pig’s life is on the line.
Meg Weinberger, who owns an animal sanctuary, said she went to the fair with her family in hopes of bringing back a pig.
She said when they laid eyes on Bella B. Swine, they knew they had to place the highest bid. They ended up with the winning bid of $4,700, but then a problem arose.
“I wanted to bring her home to our sanctuary, but they said ‘absolutely not,’” she said.
Fair organizers told them Bella had to be butchered or the deal was off the table.
“They wouldn’t take our credit card, and they told us it was a state law that she had to be slaughtered,” said Weinberger.
Vicki Chouris, the president and CEO of the South Florida Fair, said the rules have been clear from the start, kids across 18 counties raise the livestock animals for the food chain, and then they are auctioned off.
“We are a venue for young people in our community to learn how to be ranchers and farmers,” she said. “The process is they raise the animal for food consumption. That is the reason why. To change those rules mid-stream because somebody wants to take an animal home is not ethical. These children are being told how to follow rules.”
Weinberger and her husband said they were unaware of the rules. They said the rules were not on the website or brochures and there were no signs displayed at the auction saying it was a terminal market.
“Unfortunately it was not there, it will be in the future, and we are all learning from this experience,” said Chouris.
After hours of back and forth, organizers say they did not charge the Weinbergers, but the child who raised the pig will still receive money for their hard work.
As for Bella, she is now in Vero Beach at the butcher’s facility.
“The meat will go to a charitable organization,” said Chouris.
The Weinberger family said it will continue to fight for Bella’s life.