By Cara Sulieman
THREE little piggies destined for the chop after being sold to a Scots hotel so customers could enjoy home reared bacon have had a surprise stay of execution – after becoming firm favourites of staff and guests.
The Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in St Boswell’s, Melrose, bought the pigs – nicknamed ‘The Girls’ – at a local butchery to be reared then slaughtered on the 10-acre estate to help with ingredients for their speciality dishes, including smoked bacon foam.
But now financial controller Mark Wallace and colleagues at the 38-bed hotel set on the banks of the River Tweed are having second thoughts after getting too attached to the animals over the past 11-weeks.
So much so they have also now ‘rescued’ a clutch of 22 chickens from a battery farm that have been laying dozens of fresh eggs every day as they breathe new life into the walled gardens.
And the guests are growing attached to the animals as well – they are free to roam around the gardens and visit the animals in the walled area.
Mark’s brother, John, explained that the piglets were never supposed to become the friends that they are to the staff.
He said: “It’s 50-50. Originally, we intended to use them for meat. But now, I don’t think they’ll be slaughtered.
“There’s been an emotional bond already between them and the staff, who have their own names for them.”
The 20 hens and two silky bantam cockerels were suffering from the effects of their cramped living conditions when they were brought to the hotel.
Mark said that the chickens had “hardly a feather between them” when they were found.
The animals are all part of the hotels plan to regeneration of the walled gardens and to improve the quality of food in their double AA rosette restaurant.
Mark said: “We have taken steps to make the hotel the best place in the Borders for food and drink, we are keen to enhance this side of the business.”
Gail and Joseph Glen from Glasgow have stayed at the hotel before, and said the mini-farm only added to its appeal.
Gail said: “It’s fantastic.
“We had dinner in the restaurant last night and it was great to know what eggs went into the ice cream.
“It’s a lifestyle choice really – more people these days want to know where their food comes from.”