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June's Farm in Whitwell, Rutland, backs Farms Not Factories campaign to end factory farming

The owner of a micro-farm in Rutland has backed a campaign group that aims to end factory farming.

June Titterton-Fox, of June’s Farm in Whitwell, was approached by Farms Not Factories who asked her to make a video advocating the benefits of keeping ‘high-welfare animals’.

She mainly rears Saddleback and Large Black pigs, as well as sheep and a small amount of cattle, which are kept outside and are free to forage.

June Titterton-Fox with her pigs on June's Farm in Whitwell, Rutland
June Titterton-Fox with her pigs on June's Farm in Whitwell, Rutland

June, who has seen sales of her pork products “go through the roof” over lockdown, said free-range was best for both the animals and customers.

Her pigs love wallowing in mud - for both warmth and sun protection - and are left for at least six to eight months before making the trip to the butchers.

“They are raised outside so they are able to root, forage and wallow whenever they want,” she said.

“They are also provided with arks so they can shelter from the midday sun or the winter winds and the arks have floors and are full of straw so they are kept in the best possible environment.”

She added: “I’m hoping that with the increase in local sales people will remember me when everything gets back to normal and will continue to actually want to buy high-welfare pork that’s outdoor reared and has no antibiotics.”

A spokesman for Farms Not Factories said they use videos for public screenings and social media to get their message across.

“We want to expose the damage caused by factory pig farming to animals, human health, the environment and rural economies and urge consumers to only buy local, high welfare and ethically produced pork,” he said.

Inspired by the 1970s sitcom The Good Life, which sees a suburban couple ditch their jobs to become self-sufficient, June, 61, started her farming dream with a few chickens.

She and her husband Andy, 57, then began renting two fields near their home in 2002 before buying them two years later.

June, who has two grown-up sons and a three-year old grandson, said: “Starting off with just a few sheep we quickly progressed to cattle and then on to pigs, the idea being to be self-sufficient in providing ourselves with our own good quality meat and to sell any surplus on to friends.

“Initially, with the pigs, I would buy a couple of weaners, fatten them up and then take them to slaughter. However, one year I purchased three saddlebacks and one that I named Bertha would not get on the trailer for the one-way trip!”

Bertha was then sent off for a “romantic break” before returning almost four months later with eight piglets.

“That is where my passion for pigs began,” June said.

She also keeps Ryeland sheep, one of England’s oldest breeds, and Belted Galloway cattle, which she describes as “delicious”.

“I just enjoy watching the pigs and cattle and being outside with them,” June said previously. “I’d rather spend £800 on a cow rather than jewellery or a dress!”

June hit the national headlines earlier this month after the Mercury ran a story on her plans for an earth-sheltered eco-home

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