Mudchute Farm whips up pork scratchings

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They may no longer sweep the streets, but these brooms are at least fit for the pigs.

Tower Hamlets cleaning contractor Veolia was all set to dump its used brooms in the trash. But they've now found a new purpose as back scratchers for Mudchute Park and Farm's itchy swine.

The Island's inner-city farm took its first van load last week, and have already set about converting them into multi-pronged scratchers.

Veolia spokesman Dan Lester said: "We have all these brooms for the street sweepers, and once they reach the end of their shelf-life, they normally get chucked away.

"Tower Hamlets Council put Mudchute Farm onto us when they asked if there was anything they could use, and we just brought them down.

"It's something we're keen to help out with, because it's something different and it promotes re-use. It could be an ongoing thing, as we get through loads of them and they could have an extended life down on the farm."

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The new contraptions will come in handy for the farm's pig residents. Mudchute Farm's temporary farm manager Sundae Broadley and worker Sharon Stanford gave mother-and-daughter Tamworths Molly and Holly a good scratch when The Wharf visited last week.

Sundae said: "Pigs lay a lot in the mud and they need to scratch it off, so I thought it would be a good idea to put rows of 10 up so they could rub against them."

The scratching posts are just part of a big makeover for the pen.

Sundae said: "We're going to paint all the walls, put up the brooms, and have tyres and balls in there.

"They're fairly intelligent animals, and farmers who have pigs now have to provide entertainment so they don't get depressed. If they've got lots to do, they won't get aggressive."

The farm also uses recycled furniture in its office, and converts wood chips from lumber companies into mulch for chickens.

Sunday said: "If I can use it or turn it into something, I'll use it."

If you have something that might come in handy, call 0207 515 5901.

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