Doc, I'm an animal lover too, and I can't stand to hear animal abuse stories either.
Several months ago, we adopted a guinea pig for our little girl. I had never had a guinea pig myself, and wouldn't of thought I could love one so much. She was seven months old when we got her, but I don't think she had had any fresh food before, just the regular guinea pig pellet stuff. So, we started feeding her fresh food, and she seems a lot more energetic than when we first brought her home, and has put on some healthy weight. My husband gets a little irritated I think because I give her some of the best food that's brought in the house. :) I'll hear my husband yelling from the kitchen, "where's that great lettuce I bought a couple of days ago?" "uhhhhhhh, I may have fed that to Lilly" I yell back. And then he lets out a loud grunt. :) So, we are making the garden extra big this year to make sure Lilly is fed good.