Plucky pig who escaped farm and gave birth to nine piglets won’t be bacon

A family of pigs has been saved from the slaughter after mum Mathilda was discovered feeding her nine piglets after escaping from a farm and giving birth to them in the wild.

A shocked dog walker found the plucky porkers who have now been saved from the slaughter.

Thousands signed a petition to save them from becoming bacon after the pregnant sow's dash for freedom.

She was discovered feeding her babies in woodland near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, on Monday prompting a rescue attempt by an animal charity.

But Matilda's future looked bleak after farmers attended the site on Thursday afternoon and hauled her back to the abattoir.

A campaign was then launched to liberate the "Ollerton 11" and save them from being slaughtered.

The victorious campaign was signed by over 6,000 people.

Jon Beresford who runs Brinsley Animal Rescue charity has now rescued the pigs for good with the family spending their first night of freedom at the rescue centre.

He revealed how the charity had received support from America, Australia, Canada and all across Europe since the story hit the headlines.

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In a post on the charity's Facebook page a spokesperson wrote: "We cannot tell you how emotional we all feel but we have just picked up Matilda and all her babies.

"Thank you so, so much everybody for helping us to do this today and all the reporters that have taken this story around the world.

"We also thank the farm for allowing us to rescue this courageous girl and her beautiful babies.

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"Matilda & her piglets have spent the first night of freedom with us resting. She is such a good mother to them, now she no longer needs to worry about their plight.

"Matilda will rear her piglets naturally, we'll be getting the males castrated in time and when they are all fit and well and independent, we'll be seeking life-long homes for them. We'll keep you updated."

Matilda and her piglets have been dubbed the Ollerton 11 after the Tamworth Two – a pair of pigs that famously escaped while being unloaded from a lorry at an abattoir in Wiltshire in 1998.

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Speaking earlier in the week Jon said: "From our point of view, they are of no value now. Matilda cannot enter the food chain as she is untraceable because she doesn't have an ear tag.

"Pigs need to be traceable from birth to slaughter and we have also been feeding her, so they have no traceability on her food and subsequently the piglets.

"We have since learned the farm supplies M&S as well and I'm not sure they would accept these pigs knowing all these things."

Matilda and her family will now live peacefully at the rescue centre until they can all be rehomed.

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