The lives of a mother pig and her 10 piglets have been spared after thousands of people campaigned for their safety. The sow had escaped from a nearby farm to give birth.
A dog walker discovered the pig feeding her babies, who are estimated to be around 3-weeks-old, in a wooded area in Nottinghamshire.
She contacted Brinsley Animal Rescue. The charity, which has named the pig Matilda, requested to take the pigs to safety rather than returning them to the farm where they would be slaughtered. Volunteers from the charity had been bringing the pig food and water while they waited for a response.
Following widespread coverage of the story, farm workers took the pig family back to the property they came from. Workers at the farm, which supplies meat to major UK retailer Marks & Spencer, had not noticed the pig was missing.
Matilda The Pig
Brinsley Animal Rescue began a petition to help save the animals from slaughter. More than 5,000 people signed it within a day. Additionally, many pledged to boycott Marks & Spencer until it allowed for the release of the animals. Today, the charity was granted permission to rescue the pigs.
The pigs are being taken to Surge Sanctuary, where they will live out the rest of their lives. The sanctuary has only been operating for one year but is already home to more than 100 rescued animals.
Jon Beresford, who runs Brinsley Animal Rescue, told the BBC: “Matilda’s maternal instinct has driven her to escape from a commercial farm. Pigs are incredibly intelligent creatures and they have a huge maternal drive.”
The charity posted on Instagram to thank the public and media outlets for the support.
It added: “We also thank the farm for allowing us to rescue this courageous girl and her beautiful babies. We will update you and I think Matilda herself wants to say a big, big thank you, too.”