The Great Escape: Pigs' flight to freedom brings promise of sanctuary

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The Independent Online
Three little pigs went to market, but only one was slaughtered. The other two saved their bacon by making a daring escape from the abattoir. They are still on the police's `wanted' list, writes Clare Garner.

The two runaway Ginger Tamworth boars are still on the run after six days. But while they trot around somewhere in Wiltshire, the news on their pal, a third boar transported with them who did not get away, was not so good.

On the two pigs' sixth day of freedom, a spokesman for Newman's Slaughterhouse, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, said yesterday: "The third member of the group was processed in the usual way."

Meanwhile, animal sanctuaries across the country were volunteering their services for the surviving five-month-old boars.

Geoff Francis, from Hillside animal sanctuary near King's Lynn, Norfolk, said he would willingly give the heroic boars a home for life. "We would love to have this pair. We already have a refugee from the slaughterhouse, a bullock we called Braveheart, who swam a river to escape - just like the pigs.

"We have been inundated with calls from people asking us to save them, some have offered money to help us.

"It is amazing how fugitives like these two catch people's imaginations".

Indeed, it looks as if they will be able to take their pick of retirement homes.

At the PALS sanctuary near Salisbury, Wiltshire, staff said they hoped to have the pigs "safe and well" with them.

Even one of the policemen whose duty is to apprehend the runaways is rooting for a happy ending.

PC Phil Snow, who admits to eating meat only occasionally, and then never pork, said everyone was behind the pair. "Most people wish them the best of luck. If I see them again hopefully it will be in circumstances where I can wave them goodbye and wish them a happy future," he said.

Several national newspapers were bidding to buy the pigs and find them a home yesterday - if only the duo would give themselves up - and a mystery celebrity's representative was also rumoured to be trying to purchase them, offering "silly money" to secure their future.

The two pigs slipped through the hands of abattoir workers last Thursday. They ran round the abattoir yard before forcing their way through a hole in the fence and racing off through the streets of Malmesbury, only to be confronted by the river Avon. Undaunted, they dived in and swam for the other side.

After splashing their way 15 feet to the far bank the pigsmade the most of their freedom in local gardens and showed a startling turn of speed if they were approached.

What the pigs' final fate will be, nobody quite knows. The ultimate say will be down to their owner, Arnaldo Dijulio, a council road sweeper who reared them on his smallholding. He said he had bred them for slaughter (they are each worth pounds 40) and was not prepared to discuss their future.

The Ballad of

the Tamworth Pigs

We asked our house poet Martin Newell to muse on the subject Two Tamworth pigs en route one day

From piggery to table

Both saw the hand of chance held out

And grabbed while they were able


"O not for us the butcher's knife

And not for us the stun-gun

For by the time the week is out

They'll know of us in London"

Out of the trailer, through a gap

To run where it might lead them

Since rasher moves are what succeed

Along the road to freedom

Now Tamworth pigs are ginger pigs

Resourceful, quick and gritty

And make up in athletics

What they miss in being pretty

For having gained some distance

From the slaughterhouse's thugs

They swam the River Avon

Like a chinese team on drugs

They foraged in some woodland

In a Malmesbury environ

Their trademark Tamworth trotter prints

Proclaimed these Pigs of Iron

And they became the heroes

Of a sentimental nation

As the Cassidy and Sundance

Of a porcine situation.