Belfast Telegraph

Thousands of pigs killed in arson attack on Co Armagh farm

By Claire Cromie

Thousands of pigs have been killed in a suspected arson attack on a Co Armagh pig farm.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said 800 sows and about 3,500 piglets died in the fire.

The blaze destroyed three sheds at the farm on Derrywilligan Road, Mullaghglass, near Bessbrook.

Fire crews were called to the scene at about 5.40am on Saturday morning.

It took the firefighters seven hours, using five fire engines and an NIFRS Command Support Unit, to extinguish the flames.

Water tankers and a hydraulic platform were also brought in from nearby towns and villages.

A NIFRS spokeswoman said: "The fire is thought to have been started deliberately."

Police said some animals were "evacuated from the scene".

A spokesman added: "It is believed that extensive damage was caused to the property and diversions were in place to minimise traffic disruption.

"At this stage, the cause of the fire is still under investigation and enquiries are continuing."

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact police in Ardmore on the non-emergency number 101.

Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley said locals were shocked at the "disgusting" attack.

"People are very shocked to hear of this news and acknowledge the terrible suffering these animals must have endured, as the Fire Service has stated that the fire is thought to have been started deliberately," he said.

“Over the weekend, thousands of people marched in Belfast against animal cruelty, and it’s disgusting to think that such a horrible death could have been inflicted on defenseless animals deliberately.

“I commend the Fire Service for their diligent work in controlling the fire and minimizing the damage to life and farm buildings.”

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