Nova Scotia

Farmer sounds alarm after thief butchers his pig, steals other livestock

A farmer in Cooks Brook, N.S., warns that someone is stealing livestock in the area after he found the carcass of one of his pigs this week and discovered others were missing. RCMP are investigating.

Neighbouring farmer considering video surveillance after discovering she's also missing 33 meat hens

The free-range animals on Moo Nay Farms roam over 27 hectares of pasture. (Moo Nay Farms/Facebook)

A farmer in Cooks Brook, N.S., warns that someone is stealing livestock in the area after he found the carcass of one of his pigs this week and discovered others were missing.

Melvin Burns, who owns Moo Nay Farms near Shubenacadie, had noticed some of his Berkshire pigs were missing. He went looking and found flies buzzing around a plastic sheet near a river at the edge of his property on Tuesday morning.

"Somebody had butchered the pig on the plastic, and discarded the skin, the head of the pig and the plastic," he said. "I don't really know what would drive somebody to do this, I really don't."

Burns believes he's lost two sows, three or four butcher-sized pigs, eight or nine piglets and 40 laying hens.

That loss translates to between $4,000 and $5,000 — money he said would typically pay for hay for the winter months. 

Burns found found flies buzzing around a plastic sheet near a river at the edge of his property on Tuesday morning. Poachers took the meat and left the carcass. (Moo Nay Farms/Facebook)

More animals missing

The free-range animals on Moo Nay Farms roam over 27 hectares of pasture so they can be difficult to count. But Burns said anyone with knowledge of his operations could locate them.

His laying hens come in every night and his pigs are comfortable around people.

"We host farm tours all the time. I feed [the pigs] off the back of my truck. They're very used to coming when a vehicle pulls in and crowding around people. I guess if you have the skill it wouldn't be that hard," he said. 

Burns shared his story on Facebook and the post has been shared nearly 200 times. ​

Bianca Massarella and Melvin Burns are warning neighbouring farms that someone is stealing livestock in the area. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)

'Feel a little uneasy'

He said a neighbour, Amy Hill, who owns nearby Snowy River Farm, spotted the post and discovered 33 of her meat hens are also missing.

"Many of them are for customers who have already paid ahead of time to help us so we can afford to feed them and get them to [customers]. For someone to get in and take them, it's disheartening, it's frustrating," she said. 

Hill said she is considering getting a livestock dog and installing cameras around her property. She said she no longer feels that her farm is safe. 

"You wonder when you're in bed who might come and take sheep next, or pigs, or more chickens from us," she said.

"I know we have a good community but there are a few people within it that are making us feel a little uneasy."

Amy Hill counted her hens after hearing of the thefts at Moo Nay Farms and found 33 out of 200 are missing. (CBC)

Police investigating

Burns said he reported his incident to police, as did Hill. Nova Scotia RCMP said they are investigating. 

Burns is now installing security cameras on his farm and hopes the publicity will make whoever trespassed think twice. 

"I'm not one for spite, I just want it to stop — for me, for my neighbours, I want my family to feel safe around the farm," he said. 

With files from Maritime Noon