Cambridgeshire

Flying pigs safely delivered to Falklands farmers

Pigs in field in Falkland Islands
Image caption Farmer Andrez Short said the pigs were settling in well

Five piglets destined to refresh the pig gene pool in the Falklands have arrived safely after their 18-hour flight turned into a 42-hour adventure.

Cambridgeshire farmer Guy Kiddy's pigs spent an unscheduled 24 hours in Chile after their flight was diverted because of snowstorms at Mount Pleasant.

New owner Andrez Short said they were now settling into their new field and were "very happy and friendly pigs".

They were looked after on the journey by Falkland Islands vet Zoe Luxton.

Mr Short, whose family settled on the island in 1843, has been farming there since 2002.

'Pigs are different'

As well as cattle and sheep, he has 83 pigs.

"Only three people have pigs on this island and it was clear that interbreeding was becoming a problem, because after a while, they are all related," Mr Short said.

"They were showing the classic signs, including small litters.

Image caption Cambridgeshire farmer Guy Kiddy with two of the piglets before their departure for the Falklands

"We imported frozen semen and thought artificial insemination might help. No one here had done that, so I taught myself."

He added: "I've done that hundreds of times with sheep, but pigs are a little different."

Unfortunately it was unsuccessful and Mr Short made the decision to import four piglets for himself and one for a fellow farmer.

"We aren't sure of the final cost, but we think it's in excess of £1,000 per animal," he said.

"Getting them here was the biggest challenge because ships won't do it and military planes can't carry livestock.

"We asked Chiltern Air Freight, and thankfully they agreed although they'd never sent anything like a pig to the Falklands before."

Mr Short said news of the pigs' arrival - 24 hours later than scheduled - had spread.

"There was quite a welcome waiting for them," he added.

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