Vandals kill pigs in raid

Police are investigating whether animal rights extremists are responsible for an attack on a farm in Cumbria that breeds pigs and wild boar.

Mayhem resulted after intruders cut fences and pushed over a drystone wall at Sillfield Farm near Kendall on 24 May as boar and pigs escaped and started fighting.

Peter Gott, who runs the farm, told the BBC the animals involved had suffered: "Four or five piglets were trampled to death in the fighting and I'm hoping one pregnant saddleback sow, who has a nasty gash, does not have to abort.

"It caused mayhem internally on the farm and as far as animal welfare is concerned animals have suffered."

A pub in Lancashire was also attacked. The Highwayman in Burrow, which serves the farm's wild boar, was daubed with grafitti and the tyres of cars in the carpark were slashed.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria police said while police are keeping an open mind, animal rights activists are suspected because of a message on a animal rights website that she said appears to claim responsibility for the attacks.

Kelly Whitehead from Sillfield Farm said: "Wild boar and pigs aren't a good combination so we've had quite a few badly injured, piglets trampled and killed.

"We've had one that has since died because pigs go into shock and have heart attacks when they get distressed. One of the pigs that was involved has since died and one has been badly injured."

The boar were released into a field next to the M6 motorway and Cumbria police described it as "good fortune" that the powerful animals did not forced their way through to the carriageway. "The consequences of this could well have resulted in a serious collision," said the police spokeswoman.