At 2-weeks-old, the piglets were nearly killed in a fire. At 6 months, they became a thank you present for the firefighters who saved them.
Firefighters in Wiltshire, England rescued 18 piglets and two sows from a barn that was going up in flames in February, according to the BBC. The fire ended up consuming 60 tons of hay. Six months later, the farm gave the firefighters sausage made from the pigs to thank them.
“I’m sure vegetarians will hate this,” said Rachel Rivers, the manager of the farm where the pigs were saved.
Rivers and farm owner Canon Gerald Osbourne defended the gift, saying raising and slaughtering livestock is their livelihood.
“I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until the time they go to slaughter and they go into the food chain,” Rivers said, adding that “you do feel sad at the end of it.”
The firefighters, who barbequed the sausage, didn’t seem to mind. They called the meat “fantastic.”
“Exactly six months and one day since firefighters rescued 18 piglets from a fire, we got to sample the fruits of our labors from that February night,” the fire station wrote online, according to the Guardian.
But Rivers was right that vegetarians wouldn’t exactly be thrilled by the gift. One animal rights group even responded to the meaty present by offering a gift of their own.
“We’ll be sending Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service packs of vegan sausages so that they can see how easy it is to truly be heroes for pigs – by sparing them all suffering,” said Mimi Bekhechi, a spokesperson for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The farm owner and manager have responded to criticism by say that raising animals for slaughter is just how it goes on a farm.
“This is just what we do – we are not an animal sanctuary,” Rivers told the Guardian.