Firefighters rescued 72 pigs yesterday (Sunday) from a slurry pit on a farm in Aghalee, Co Antrim.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said it was their largest ever animal rescue incident.
The NIFRS facebook said the call had been received at 11.36am yesterday morning to attend an incident on the Ballinderry Road, Aghalee. 74 pigs, each weighing approximately 100kg had fallen into a pit containing approximately three feet of slurry.
The post continued: “NIFRS Large Animal Rescue Teams from Newcastle and Omagh Fire Stations, the Specialist Rescue Team from Central Fire Station and Fire Crews from Lurgan, Crumlin and Newcastle Fire Stations worked for nearly seven hours in this protracted and challenging incident.
“Firefighters from the Animal Rescue Teams wore breathing apparatus and used rescue lines to pull the animals free from the slurry pit. Gas monitors were used throughout the incident to continually monitor gas levels from the slurry. Firefighters rescued 72 pigs and two pigs died. In terms of animal numbers this is largest animal rescue incident attended by NIFRS.”
The spokesperson added: “Farm animals in distress can pose a serious risk to farmer or anyone else attempting to rescue them. Slurry incidents in particular pose their own serious risks given the dangerous gases that can be present in slurry.
“We would advise farmers not to attempt to rescue animals in these situations and to call 999 for assistance.”