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All 400 Sanctuary Pigs To Be Gassed in a Truck and Delivered to Starke for Cremation

| November 15, 2010

flagler pig sanctuary euthanisation execution

Gas chamber on wheels. (© FlaglerLive)

The 18-wheeler looked as common as any semi anywhere: White trailer, green cab. Unmarked. It was parked, backed in, on the 20-acre property of Lory Yazurlo’s Pig Tales Sanctuary since Monday morning. But there was nothing common about it. At least not on this particular job.

The semi was a hired gas chamber.

It was there to receive Yazurlo’s corralled pigs, all 400 of them–the remnants of twice that number at the sanctuary’s peak several years ago. The pigs were to be stacked inside, up to 200 at a time, gassed, and delivered to a crematorium in Starke, their carcasses to a facility in Starke, the same town where the state executes inmates on death row.

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By Tuesday evening, all 400 pigs are scheduled to have been executed. Yazurlo tried to win what amounted to a literal stay of execution for the pigs she’s cared for since 1995. She was unable to find a lawyer who could stop what turned into a rapid, virtually unstoppable process once a county court last week signed a sentencing order turning the pigs’ custody to Flagler County. The order stated that attempts to correct matters of neglect and public health on the property had failed.

In 2008, five pigs tested positive for pseudorabies virus, which affects animals but not humans. The United States Department of Agriculture said it suspected that some of the pigs would test positive for brucellosis, which is infectious and contagious to humans, and debilitating. But no pig at the sanctuary has ever, in fact, tested positive for the disease. Nor were the pigs being tested medically in any form Monday or Tuesday before being led to the gas chamber. They were only being counted, Mark Fagan, a spokesman with the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry, said. County, state and federal authorities will not have documented evidence that allegations they made about the pigs’ danger to humans, from infectious diseases, were accurate. In essence, authorities were destroying evidence.

The problem went beyond allegations of disease, however. The USDA said the pigs were chronically neglected, and neighbors complained about pigs escaping the sanctuary and ending up on their properties. Innumerable pigs were shot by neighbors.

Monday evening during a meeting of the county commission, County Administrator Craig Coffey briefed the commission on the ongoing euthanization, speaking for just two minutes about the matter and describing it as a “tough decision” compelled by public health concerns. None of the commissioners spoke until later, when Barbara Revels said there hadn’t been “a stone left unturned” to do the humane thing for the animals. Commissioner Alan Peterson said: “This wasn’t a snap decision, something that was done on the spur of the moment. This has been an issue for several years.” He added: “Every effort was made to attempt to solve a difficult problem.”

This way to the gas chamber: A pig foraging, for a few last moments, next to the ramp that'll constitute its last walk. (Click on the image for larger view. © FlaglerLive)

Earlier in the meeting, Charlene Yazurlo, Lory’s mother, filled the three minutes she was given during the public comment portion of the meeting to rebuff characterization of her daughter as neglectful (“I’ve always been exceptionally angry at anyone who’s ever accused her of neglect”) and speak of what she said John Wayne would have described as her “true grit.” Yazurlo quoted from Ecclesiastes (Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal”). She reminded the commission of a torrent of outrage from around the world–a torrent commissioners themselves have been privy to: by afternoon, they’d received some 450 emails from around the world (but few, if any, from Flagler County) objecting to the impending executions.

But Yazurlo was also resigned to the inevitable. “I was going to invite everyone involved to watch these pigs be executed,” she said. “Of course, that’s too late.” One other person addressed the matter, Marlene Walker, who decried the effects of the euthanization will have on the county’s image. “This is not the kind of thing that you do and present to the world to say something positive about your county,” Walker said.

Authorities had barred Lory Yazurlo from the sanctuary since Sunday, in preparation for the operation that began Monday morning. Fagan, the Department of Agriculture’s spokesman, described the process:

“We began the process by building corrals, corralled all the population in one area. They were fed, to make them comfortable. A ramp was put in place. They then built a route to where they can kind of go in single file. They’ll be inventoried as they go on to the truck. Once they’re on the truck and the truck is sealed, CO2″–that is, carbon dioxide–”is then going to be released. That is the gas that will euthanize them. They’ll slowly go to sleep. By the time they get to Starke, about an hour-10 minutes’ drive, they’ll be off-loadded into a disposal facility where they’ll be cremated.

“They’re estimating that the if the group is going to be small pigs, then they will probably get as many as 200 on the truck. If it’s the larger one of course it’ll be less, so they’re going to estimate between 100 and 200 per trip. They’re planning on making three trips to Starke, one today and two tomorrow. We should be finished and done with our part of this by tomorrow afternoon.”

Eight staffers from the state’s veterinary services and its counterpart with the United States Department of Agriculture were at the sanctuary Monday afternoon. The Flagler County Humane Society had fed the pigs in the morning. It will feed the remaining pigs again Tuesday morning, “so they’ll be calm and comfortable in the process of uploading into the truck,” Fagan said.

The gas is not released when the truck is stationary, at the sanctuary, but as its driving to its destination. The pigs, in other words, are being executed as the truck is driving east on State Road 100, which leads to Starke.

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82 Responses for “All 400 Sanctuary Pigs To Be Gassed in a Truck and Delivered to Starke for Cremation”

  1. Loriel says:

    Everyone on this board is making valid points in regards to this tragic final act on a saga that many people have followed for a long time…including me. I agree very much with the contributors who asked how many of you actually went to help with these pigs? Did you donate time? Money? Feed? Were you there to give Lory a hand? It is very easy to sit in your comfortable living rooms and rant and rave about what was done to these pigs. What happened to Lory is very common for people who attempt uninformed and unprepared animal rescue….she became a hoarder. It was out of love, but it happened. It is difficult for a well equiped farmer or large animal rescue organization to take care of and feed 400 pigs let alone a woman in a wheelchair. This was going to happen, when was the only question. I had contacted both the Farm Sanctuary and Peaceful Prairie in regards to the pigs. Both of them are already overwhelmed with the animals they presently care for and when I told them the amount of pigs and the short amount of time there was no way. You see, I never helped either. I just watched and read and thought about helping. Then, at the last minute I decided to try and do what I can. You can’t find homes for 400 pigs so quickly and honestly, I do not think that Flagler County would have given them up anyway. My heart breaks for how they were euthanized and I have to just hope it was peaceful. I have my doubts though. The person who made the point about everyone up in arms about this that may have just eaten bacon is also very astitute. What happened to these pigs is kind and gentle compared to what happens to pigs at large scale factor farms every single minute of the day. Take a tour of a slaughterhouse facility…yea……hell does exist on earth. As the old saying goes, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarians.” I am getting off track but I am just trying to make the point that there were no easy answers here. The Humane Society excruciatingly let this entire situation down…that is their job…to intervene and either stop it a long time ago or do something to make it better. It is a situation that was destined to be made to “go away” and that it has. And once again, the innocent suffer the most. The pigs and most of all, their would be savior Lory.


  2. Rhonda says:

    I find it quite funny that at the end of this tragic story is a place to DONATE MONEY to Flagler Co…….
    Somehow I don’t believe any donated money would go to help out individuals such as these!!!
    To help make any wrongs at this pig farm into rights. Its truly sad.


  3. Junie Kerne says:

    A form of government that has the power to govern without consent of those being governed. Time to register to vote and sign the petition.Need to get a petition to get rid of HB-391 also. I know there are some impatient pens waiting to put a pencil whipping on these dictators. Is’nt that what caused an uprising in other countries? Until all this political abuse of power ends there will be no justice or peace. A few perfect examples of this abuse are :the so called federal raids during a marijuana legislative debate,the msla police chief and this Hb-391 introduced by are prosecutor.Perfect timing for this bill I might add. I know that if any type of marijuana arrest are made We The People need to protest that they be freed and not prosecuted.A civil rights uprising is a good example of the power of the people. What is a shame is I for one went to some of the protest and there were not that many people.But every other car honked in support. Please get out of those cars and stand for this cause.Are We The People going to just honk as a solution.No! WE need a strong uprising! To demonstrate that we are not giong to live under a dictatorship ruling.The laws to protect this country should not be processed like this anymore.A democratic way is what America is about. Americans please stand up and let your voice be heard!


  4. bernard says:

    well to start with i am surely not a pig lover myself but rather a fanatical feline lover i love cats but the case here is that these pigs where this ladies love and meant all to her what should of been done is that all males be castrated and maybe recquired of her to not take in any extra pigs and surely the community could of helped this handicapped lady take care of these animals and in time the numbers would of come down and also maybe she might of donated some of these to poor people for food after testing for disease of course


  5. Shahama says:

    I just saw an old documentary on hoarders that included this story. I was shocked by the ending. Gassing the innocent and sick on a moving trucks is right out of Nazi history. I was totally digusted on the support of this decision that was given by and official of HSI Humane Society International an affiliate of HSUS. They need to get letters of protest. No attempt was made to separate the healthy from the sick or find any homes or leave Lori with a limited number of her pigs as is often done is such situations. I am a Jewish vegetarian.


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