Armed police today shot several badly injured pigs after an animal transporter caught fire on a stretch of motorway.
Both carriageways of the A1(M) were closed for a time after the incident between Carville and Chester-le-Street in County Durham earlier this morning.
Durham Police said 16 animals were put down, three of which were shot by armed officers drafted in to assist vets.
The fire was sparked by a burst tyre on the three-tier vehicle - containing 200 pigs. It was being towed by a lorry on the southbound carriageway.
The road was closed in both directions for more than four hours but both carriageways have now reopened to motorists.
A police spokesman said: "Sadly the blaze resulted in injury to a number of animals.
"A vet was called in to put down some of the pigs and armed officers were also drafted in to kill three the vet could not reach."Reuse content