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Alberta animal shelter using donated pumpkins to feed rescued pigs

WATCH ABOVE: A local group is using leftover Halloween jack-o'-lanterns to help rescued pigs. Michel Boyer explains.

EDMONTON – A local animal sanctuary is giving people a creative way to get rid of their old jack-o’-lanterns.

The Farm Animal Rescue & Rehoming Movement (FARRM, for short) is offering to take people’s leftover pumpkins to feed to the sanctuary’s pot-bellied pigs. The pumpkins will be taken to FARRM’s site in Gwynne, near Wetaskiwin.

READ MORE: Alberta farm animal rescue sanctuary struggles to keep up with overwhelming demand 

The pigs on site at FARRM have all been rescued from in and around Edmonton, where they were found abandoned or unwanted, sometimes because of local bylaws stopping people from owning the animals.

Most of the festive gourds used on Halloween are still edible, and will be given to the pigs as a change of pace from their usual feed.

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“We thought it would allow people to make good use of their pumpkins, and it definitely helps us out,” said FARRM’s owner, Melissa Foley.

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FARRM is accepting donations at a home in Terwillegar Town (1712 Turvey Bend) until midnight Wednesday. After that, all the pumpkins will be collected and sent to FARRM, where they’ll be eaten by the pigs over the coming weeks.

“Instead of throwing your pumpkins in the garbage, they’re going to a good cause,” said Lindsay Lorenz, a neighbourhood resident who came to donate her own Halloween pumpkins.

“It seems so wasteful to throw pumpkins in the garbage, so we thought this would be a much better solution.”

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Pumpkins may sound like an odd food choice, but they have health benefits for pigs.

“Pumpkins have nutrients in them that actually help with the natural dryness of a pig’s skin, and it helps with their hooves as well,” said Foley.

The Farm Animal Rescue & Rehoming Movement (FARRM, for short) is offering to take people’s leftover pumpkins.
The Farm Animal Rescue & Rehoming Movement (FARRM, for short) is offering to take people’s leftover pumpkins. Michel Boyer/Global News

Each pig at FARRM eats an average of about one pumpkin a day. FARRM will soon be giving the pigs one pumpkin each every second day, since pigs can develop digestive issues if they eat pumpkin too often.

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READ MORE: 1,470-pound pumpkin crowned the lord of the gourds

Since they started taking pumpkins, FARRM’s offer to take pumpkins has gained traction online.

“As soon as we announced on social media that we were looking to take pumpkins from people, overnight I had 124 emails,” said Foley.

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The SPCA has taken donations to give to FARRM, and many residents have already stepped up and donated.

If you want to donate to FARRM but you don’t have a pumpkin to give, FARRM asks that you give a financial donation.

FARRM says they’ll spend all the money they receive on animal feed.