Meet Betty, the piglet who escaped death and inspired a whole village with her incredible story

We’re starting the year with a truly inspiration story about a helpless piglet who escaped death and inspired an entire village in the process…

A lucky escape

In December 2022, it became known that someone had abandoned a mother pig and her group of piglets in a woodland near Whitney-on-Wye in Herefordshire. After a rumour circulated that they were wild boar, a group of people turned up with guns and quad bikes and sadly the mother pig and all but one of her babies were shot.

Thankfully, the remaining piglet managed to escape and was found by local resident Ilisa, who led the piglet to safety before reaching out to us. 

Ilisa felt that she had to find the piglet help quickly in case it was hunted: “There wasn’t much time as too many people knew she was there,” she said. “They heard about her in pubs up in the Radnor Hills and even as far as Builth Wells!”

Betty the rescued pig
Ilisa found Betty wandering alone.
Betty the rescued pig
...and managed to coax her to safety with food and water

It takes a village to save a piglet

The piglet, which has been affectionately named Betty, quickly won the hearts of the rest of the village, who all rallied round to find her a safe home. One elderly resident even tried to stop the hunters from killing the mother pig and her piglets and was left traumatised when they were shot in front of her.

Ilisa said: “It was quite amazing how the whole village was behind the rescue plan and it brought us all closer together which is lovely.”

Until she could arrange a home for her, Ilisa looked after Betty, who would eat apples from her hand and even come running to her when she was called. Pigs are said to have the same intelligence as three-year-old children and studies have shown that they can grieve for one another as well as feel fear and pain.

Betty arrives safely at Goodheart Farm Animal Sanctuary

A safe home at last

In January, Betty the piglet was brought to her new home here at Goodheart Farm Animal Sanctuary in Worcestershire, which is home to over 300 rescued animals including cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and turkeys.

After a period of quarantine, in which our team will check her over, Betty will be integrated with some of our other rescued pigs at the sanctuary, where she can enjoy a spacious new home and the individual care and attention she deserves.

“We’re proud to be part of such an inspiring rescue operation and want to thank Ilisa and her neighbours for all their efforts in saving Betty. We can’t imagine the fear this little piglet has experienced at just a few months old, but we’re happy in the knowledge that she can live out the rest of her life in safety at our sanctuary and become an ambassador for her species”.
Alison Hood
Project Director, Goodheart Animal Sanctuaries