Firefighters Eat the Piglets They Once Rescued From a Fire

There’s nothing quite soheartwarming as stories of pigs, cattle and other critters that somehow managed to escape the slaughterhouse and were able to live out their lives on a sanctuary, never ending up on someone’s dinner plate.

Sorry, but this is not one of those stories.

However, it does have a heartwarming beginning: Back in February, firefighters from the Pewsey Fire Station in England rescued two sows and 18 two-week-old piglets from a burning barn.

“When we arrived at the scene shortly before 10 p.m., half of the barn was on fire, with the pigs sheltering in the corner on the other side,” Pewsey watch manager Mark Hillier told the Guardian at the time. He said the biggest challenge for the firefighters was making their way to the pigs so they could free them from the barn. Once the sows and piglets were safe, the firefighters let the fire burn itself out.

You might think that, out of gratitude for the firefighters’ valiant efforts, farmer Rachel Rivers would want to save those pigs’ lives a second time by sparing them from slaughter. What you might not think is that she would offer the piglets to the firefighters as a gift in the form of organic sausages.

Yet that’s just what she did, and six months after the firefighters rescued those piglets, last week they ate them at a fire station barbecue.

“This was just a token gesture to the fire service,” Rivers told the Guardian. “They were over the moon with them.” That they were. The firefighters posted photos on Facebook of themselves enjoying the sausages.

“We got to sample the fruits of our labors from that February night,” they wrote. “Huge thank you to Rachel Rivers for dropping them off for us. Highly recommended by Pewsey Fire Station crew and if any of our followers is having a bank holiday bbq this weekend then check out these sausages, they are fantastic.”

It didn’t take long for outrage to grow over those photos. Rivers said she expected vegetarians and animal rights advocates to disapprove.

Many of the comments on social media defending the barbecue say the firefighters knew the piglets were being raised for meat when they rescued them, so what was the big deal? What was the difference, some ask, between eating these piglets or sausages bought at the store?

The issue here is that it just seems, well, unsavory, to want to eat a creature whose life you personally saved.

To the firefighters’ credit, in response to so many people taking umbrage on social media, they issued an apology on the Pewsey Fire Station Facebook page. “We recognize that this has caused offense to some we apologize for this and as such have removed the post,” they stated.

Rivers said she did feel sad about the fate of the piglets, but it’s how she makes a living. “This is just what we do we are not an animal sanctuary,” she told the Guardian. “We give the pigs the best opportunity and the best life they could have for six months.”

Based on a quick Google search, there are a few animal sanctuaries in England that might have been happy to take in those pigs. A crowdfunding campaign could have raised more than enough to cover the cost of their relocation. But, sadly, it’s too late now.

Photo credit: A. Sparrow


Kyle N
Kyle N4 days ago

Nothing beats a great BBQ for a job well done!

Jennifer H
Jennifer H8 days ago

Sorry for the pun....but tasteless article. Could have done without this.

Stephanie s
Stephanie s17 days ago

Horrible story.

Margie F
Margie F17 days ago


Paulo R
Paulo Reeson18 days ago

disgusting, ty

Dot A
Dot A19 days ago

Hi Sharmala, Your comment leaves me with the impression that grace and forgiveness aren*t necessarily topics of interest for you personally. As for staying on topic, the concept of bashing meat eaters seemed related to most comments read derived in response to the article. It appears that Care2 can care very much for 'their personal causes' - and sometimes very little for the human condition and our challenges. The idea is to be less hostile and more open minded, which includes the embrace of forgiveness in the natural world, which kills for food.
I mentioned that the less than thoughtful pork dinner was a rather cruel occurrence. My intention was to see a larger picture of life on planet earth, and how the circle of life is difficult. And, ... that - forgiveness is a gentle response to things which we cannot change. I think it is a good response to this topic.

Pushpraj S
Pushpraj Singh22 days ago


Angela K
Angela K22 days ago


Vikki D
Chloe D22 days ago

OMG this is just wrong

Doris F
Doris F22 days ago