Every year, more than 100 million pigs are killed in the United States for food. But are these animals simply a strip of bacon, or is there more behind every bite of spare ribs?

Researchers have found that our porcine friends are capable of far more than eating copious amounts of food and rolling in the mud. They can play video games, chase balls, perform tricks, learn to use mirrors to locate food, and remember learned behaviors for years.

Yet these highly social, intelligent beings are relegated to filthy, cramped factory farms, where they spend their whole lives before being trucked in all weather extremes to slaughterhouses.

When visiting Toronto in 2014, my wife, Rachel, and I had the opportunity to stand vigil outside several slaughterhouses with a local group named Toronto Pig Save whose mission is to bear witness to the final moments of these animals’ lives. As trucks pulled into their destination, we rushed up to comfort the pigs and offer them water after their long, terrifying trip. My eyes met those of a beautiful pig whose ear I stroked until the truck drove off. I will never forget that sad, confused gaze. The experience changed me forever.

Poppyseed, this site’s namesake, was a potbellied pig–simply a miniature version of his farm cousins. He was sent to live in a barren pen and starved after his first guardian could no longer keep him. We rescued him and loved and cared for him for two months. Living with him was an adventure, and he opened our hearts and filled them with love for his silliness, his crazy antics, and his snorts and snuggles. Unfortunately, Poppyseed did not pull through on his long road to recovery. Le Petit Poppyseed was initially founded to fund his medical bills, but now we continue with a mission to advocate for his porcine friends with cute pig accessories in his memory.

Every year, thousands of potbellied pigs suffer similar fates, often because their owners were deceptively promised “teacup” pigs who weren’t supposed to grow up, or they were expected to behave like dogs, or they were given the boot by their county or neighborhood association. Unfortunately, those pigs are never rescued, and never loved, the way Poppy was. Our products are handmade with love for each and every pig out there, from factory farm prisoners to neglected pets.

I hope that as you read about Poppy and explore Le Petit Poppyseed, you’ll marvel over these quirky creatures, just as I do. If you want to help pigs, please consider shopping with us, as a portion of all proceeds benefits Toronto Pig Save. And you can save many more pigs by trying out delicious vegan eating!