After a group of firefighters saved 18 piglets from a fiery death, a grateful farmer thanked them by sending over some sausages made from those very animals. Though the rescuers were pleased with the gesture, it has infuriated tons of people, some of whom even compared the act to eating humans.
Farm manager Rachel Rivers' barn caught fire in February, reports the BBC. Though more than 60 tons of hay burned in the blaze, two sows and the 18 piglets were rescued.
Six months later, Rivers slaughtered the very same pigs -- which she had always intended to raise for pork.
She then formed some of the meat into sausages and sent them over to the firehouse in southern England. Though the gift was initially well-received with glowing reviews -- the firefighters "highly recommended" them and called them "fantastic" -- it made tons of people furious.
"Absolutely DISGUSTED that you so called 'heroes could 'rescue' baby pigs and their [mother] from that terrible blaze and then eat them on a BBQ and make fun of it," one disgruntled Facebook user wrote on the fire station's page, according to BuzzFeed. "I don't know the mindset of individuals who could do that. It sickens me to the core and I haven't even begun to process it, but one thing is for sure you're not heroes you're sadistic animal abusers. SHAME ON YOU."
Another suggested that meat eaters visit a slaughterhouse to "educate" themselves "on the cruelty [they] are involved in."
"If you rescue cats, dogs and babies do you sit down to eat them six months later?" one person wrote. "You are vile human beings. You have no idea of what those animals went through. The fear and the pain. TWICE in their short lives."
Rivers said that she did not regret her actions.
"I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until the time they go to slaughter and they go into the food chain," she told the BBC. " … You do feel sad at the end of it ... but to bring them down for [the firefighters] was a good way of saying 'thank you'."
PETA said that it would be sending the Pewsey team some vegan sausages to show them "how easy it is to truly be heroes for pigs -- by sparing them all suffering."
The fire station took down its online post about the sausages and apologized for offending people.