The Parish Council gave permission to a new community ‘syndicate’ in 2009 to pilot a pig project on rented council land for one seven-month cycle.
The Council reviewed the project at its October 2009 meeting and voted that the syndicate can continue with the project in 2010. The first batch – Gloucester Old Spot and Landrace cross bred by an organic smallholder in Heathfield – arrived in May 2009 aged about seven weeks. The syndicate looked after and fed the pigs for five months: six were sent to Broad Oak abattoir in September and butchered by Bishop’s in Uckfield; the two remaining pigs were slaughtered a month later and butchered at Boathouse Organic Farm near Lewes. If you went to Buxted’s autumn fayre last autumn you may know, from tasting the hog roast, how delicious the pigs are!
The pig group works hard looking after the pigs, putting up and maintaining strong fencing and gates, sorting out drinking water, electric fending, building housing and of course feeding them twice a day every day every day. Not to mention collecting pig manure every day which we then give to allotmenteers to improve their soil. And of course, there are also issues to deal with and decisions to make concerning feed amounts, health matters, slaughtering issues and so on. We ensure the highest standards of animal welfare, following guidance from Defra, the RSPCA, other animal welfare bodies and the local vet. All the costs, including set up costs of fencing, housing and water are paid for by the project group. The Parish Council, although supportive of the project, is not responsible for any of the costs.