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Pigs really can fly: Design company wins award after pig lift invention

Rescued pigs relieved after much-needed pedicure.

Leicestershire design company Designeering created a pioneering device to aid in the care of pigs back in 2022.


Last night, they won the prestigious Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award at the Real Entrepreneurs' Awards 2024.


Sébastien de La Hamayde, Creative Director at Designeering, said: "This accolade is especially meaningful as it marks the 30th anniversary of Designeering, and was sponsored by De Montfort University, where I studied Product Design and lectured.


"The award recognised our Innovative Pig Lift, a project that embodies our commitment to blending innovative design with practical applications. This recognition not only celebrates our past achievements but also heralds a future of continued innovation."


The invention was sparked back in 2019 when a sounder of 100 pigs found safety at an animal sanctuary in Wales called Beneath the Wood. They'd being rescued from an illegal and horrific slaughterhouse in Pembrokeshire.

 

Because the pigs lived in dreadful conditions – amongst carcasses and surviving on the entrails of the other slaughtered animals – their hooves had grown and, in some cases, become curved and uneven, making it difficult for them to stand and walk.

As a result, they needed pedicures. But foot care on such heavy and strong animals is challenging. Especially when the largest pig – Gandalf – is 7ft in length and weighs over half a tonne.

 

Designeering spoke to Beneath the Wood about this problem, then rose to the challenge of designing lifting equipment that can raise the pigs in the air with their feet dangling so they can be treated and trimmed.

 

The result? A unique Pig Lift.

 

Designed and built in 2022 and delivered to the Sanctuary at Christmas, the lift is an innovative modular solution, strong enough to accommodate animals ranging from 150 kg to over 600 kg.

Sasha Bennett, Director at Beneath the Wood Sanctuary, said: “Massive thanks to Designeering for making the Pig Lift a reality. It is fit for purpose, easy to operate and safe to use.


"I’m amazed at what you achieved with such a limited budget. This innovation is a massive improvement to pig care at the Sanctuary.”


It consists of steel sections, tubes, and laser-cut sheet metal fabrication welded together to form a heavy-duty structure. The unit is also mobile, electrically operated, and safe for the operator and animal.

The Sanctuary tested the lift on the first pigs at the end of January, and it was a success. Improved foot care means healthier lives for these animals, which is excellent news considering the immense trauma they experienced before being rescued.


Sébastien said: “As a design and engineering company which helps people/companies to develop product ideas and bring them to life, we’ve loved working on this project!


"Sasha Bennett and her team at Beneath the Wood do a fantastic job providing a safe home for so many animals.


"Rescuing 100 pigs was no small undertaking for a small not-for-profit, so we are proud to have designed this pig lift to help the Sanctuary look after them.”

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