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100 piglets face slaughter in farm row
7:29am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
ONE hundred piglets could be sent for slaughter after finding themselves caught up in a row between farmers.
The animals are among up to 180 pigs that Colin and Alison Gibson say would likely have to be destroyed if they are evicted from King’s Farm, in West Wellow.
Farm owner Ian Nelson says this is not his fault as the Gibsons had refused to discuss a timely way of leaving the farm and not communicated with him so the situation was of their own making.
Following a dispute, Mr Nelson wants the couple off the land at King’s Farm and is seeking a possession order.
But the Gibsons, who have been running a pig breading business supplying meat locally for nearly 18 months, say they have nowhere to go and no way to off-load their animals in a short space of time.
If forced to go they believe they would have to slaughter a large number of the animals – 180 mainly rare breed Iron Age pigs, including 25 breeding pigs and the piglets, some of which are just ten days’ old.
Mrs Gibson said such young piglets are worthless as meat because of their size so would be destroyed while boar Bart and sows Dilly, Lizzie, Gertie and Marg are considered family pets.
Mrs Gibson, 47, said that although they might be able to find homes for some, there was not enough time to seek out and vet new homes for all the pigs.
The Gibsons claim they were encouraged to be on the land and run a farm there by verbal agreement with farm owner Mr Nelson, who owns Sunnyfields Organic Farm, in Totton.
They permanently moved to the farm in Foxes Lane last September and have been living in a mobile home with their sons who are aged 17 and 22.
They said they were first given notice to quit the farm in September. The couple added they did not have a tenancy agreement and have not been paying rent, but were paying £350 a week on fuel for a generator as the site does not have electricity.
They understood they would only start paying rent when power was installed along with a building.
However, Mr Nelson said the Gibsons had not painted an honest and fair reflection of the situation, that they had had lots of time and there was no need to slaughter the pigs.
He said: “It was our intention to issue a tenancy and they were aware of the various timelines and planning issues involved in issuing a tenancy agreement.
We have revoked the licence which they had.
“As such they are now trespassing.”
Mrs Gibson said: “There’s no way we can move what’s taken us 18 months to establish, in two weeks.
“We don’t want to stay here, but he’s not given us reasonable notice to find somewhere else and move the pigs.”