If you're a meat eater, you might not see anything wrong with abiding by the food chain and eating farm-fresh pork. And that's how a group of firefighters saw it when they gratefully accepted a gift of sausages from a farmer whose pigs they rescued from a blazing fire months before. Needless to say, not everybody saw eye-to-eye on this -- some even compared the act to cannibalism.
It all started in February, when a barn in Rachel Rivers' farm burned down, turning dozens of tons of hay to ash, according to the BBC. But the squad of firefighters arrived on scene, gallantly saving 18 baby pigs and two sows from getting charred to oblivion.
Nobody had a problem with that. But after a six-month execution stay, things got a little more controversial when Rivers turned her prized pigs into ... well, pork.
She then formed that meat into sausages and sent them to the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service in England -- the very folks who came to her aid six months back.
"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.'"
After tasting the sausages, the firefighters said that they were "fantastic" and "delicious."
The backlash was tremendous.
"If you rescue cats, dogs and babies do you sit down to eat them six months later?" one person wrote on the fire team's Facebook page, according to BuzzFeed. "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."
The animal rights organization PETA said the piglets were "no better off" for not burning to death in February.
"We'll be sending Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service packs of vegan sausages so that they can see how easy it is to truly be heroes for pigs -- by sparing them all suffering," said PETA spokesperson Mimi Bekhechi.
The fire station quickly deleted their post and apologized for upsetting people, but that didn't change the fact that the tender ground piglet meat was still sitting in their satiated omnivorous bellies.