In a bid to cater to a reality TV-hungry nation and raise some money for UK farmers, September will offer viewers Pig Brother; a month long online extravaganza of farmyard frolics in the style of the popular TV game show.

The organisers are hoping that “five pigs, one pen” and three cameras will deliver more thrills than the human cast of Big Brother.

The quintet of pigs has been holed up in a fairytale castle-style playpen at a secret location near Cheddar, Somerset, since noon on Saturday. Every move they make will be followed by three cameras; Sty Cam, Trough Cam and Pond Cam, images from which can be viewed live on the event’s website.

The rare-breed pigs have been named after high profile political figures – Blair, Beckett, Brown, Widdecombe and Portillo – and it will be up to the nation to vote out a pig by phone or online (at every week until a winner has emerged.

More than 2,500 phone lines will operate around the clock and from every phone call, 20p will be donated to four primary charities; the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (RABI), the newly formed Farm Crisis Network (FCN), the Rural Stress Information Network (RSIN) and the Samaritans.

Organic farmer Richard Counsell, who is overseeing the sty, revealed that he expects interest from around the globe and hopes to raise around £500,000. In the first couple of hours on Saturday around 250,000 people had logged on to watch the animals: “There is quite a lot of interest to see what they’ll break first,” he said.

Bookmaker William Hill has also taken thousands of pounds worth of bets on which of the pen pals will prove victorious. Currently, the hot tip for winner is Blair, a rare Berkshire pig. The Gloucester Old Spots boar Portillo, named after the failed Tory leadership contender, is meanwhile the favourite to be first out.

“The pigs have been fantastic,” said Counsell: “They are really enjoying themselves.”

“Portillo has been a star, very boisterous and obviously enjoying himself […] Blair has been wallowing about in the water.”

The first eviction night will be this Friday (September 7), but the public have been urged not to worry about the fate of the evicted pigs. All the rare animals will be kept for breeding.

To visit the site, click here:

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Pigs, Pork & Bacon

The 2000-2005 World Outlook for Pork