FIFTY-THREE pigs, facing a death sentence after being removed from Pembroke Dock ‘horror farm’ Bramble Hall, have a safe ‘forever home’ at an animal sanctuary on the cards.

The pigs were among more than 200 animals rescued from Bramble Hall Farm during a late January two-day operation, involving multiple agencies including police, Pembrokeshire County Council, and animal welfare groups.A successful civil legal call was made in early March by Pembrokeshire County Council for the formal ownership of the animals rescued.

The request for the order was made against Sean Burns and others, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane.

Sadly, part of the order was to cull 53 pigs after the court heard, and watched, horrific scenes of pigs fighting over the carcasses of sheep at the site.

One of the main reasons the 53 pigs face being killed is the risk of transmittable conditions, such as TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy), a disease similar to the that prevalent in the 80s and 90s in cows (BSE), entering the food supply chain if they are allowed to live.

The fears of TSE follow the harrowing scenes where the pigs were seen eating sheep carcasses.

The council is continuing to investigate a range of related offences in respect of a number of individuals.

A petition to save the 53 pigs has attracted more than 11,000 signatures.

After the porkers’ plight became public knowledge, vegan activists Vegan Action Wales campaigned to save their bacon, working with west Wales animal sanctuary Beneath the Wood offered to provide ‘forever homes’ for the 53, provided tests showed they are not a threat to the food chain.

A fundraising campaign for the Bramble Hall 53 was also held.

John Awen, patron of Beneath the Wood, previously said it had got involved following a phone call on March 15 to join other groups at Haverfordwest police station, also attended by the acting chief inspector and Pembrokeshire County Council.

Speaking at the time, John said: “It is so sad that, after all the animals have endured, they still face slaughter, either wastefully under the current destruction order or under normal slaughter for the food chain if the TSE risk is lifted by DEFRA.

“We’re hoping the public pressure will put the pigs in a ‘forever home’; we’re in 2019, things have got to change, we will not give up.”

Posting on Facebook earlier this week, Vegan Action Wales wrote: “We can happily confirm that the pigs are alive and saved. The council agreed to the pigs to go all together to Beneath the Woods Sanctuary.

"The money you donated will go to cover the costs of transportation.

"The fundraising is still open if you want to help."

A spokesman for the group said there may be a delay before everything is finalised: "We spoke with Pembrokeshire council and they, along with DEFRA, are happy to rehome the 53 pigs and asked us to make this public.

"Animals must all be together and we lately have been informed there has been a delay, because of the expenses the sanctuary will have to go through."

A Pembrokeshire County council spokesman said: “Pembrokeshire County Council welcomes the decision by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (AHPA) to issue a licence which will enable the pigs to be moved to a sanctuary, subject to certain conditions being met.

"The outcome is dependent on an ongoing legal process.”