Rome police kill family of wild boar in kids playground near Vatican

Mother and six young wild boar killed in front of hundreds of screaming protestors.

Rome animal rights activists have condemned the "murder" of a family of wild boar, including a mother and six piglets, shot dead by police in a children's playground near the Vatican last night.

The seven wild boar had been trapped inside the playground on Via della Cava Aurelia for more than 24 hours, after being lured there by the nearby bins overflowing with trash.

The trapped boar, known in Rome as cinghiali, attracted much attention throughout the course of yesterday, with parents and children giving the hungry animals food.

However the spectacle ended in tragedy with the arrival of the polizia provinciale, carrying rifles, at around 21.00 last night.

The original intention was to "sedate the animals and then move them to a place more suited to their nature," says Piera Rosati of the LNDC animal rights organisation - “However the reality was very different and chilling to say the least."

"Arriving at the scene, the provincial police did indeed sedate the mother but then, while she was sleeping, some veterinarians gave her a lethal injection. That was just the beginning of the horror," said Rosati.

A crowd of hundreds of people stood around the playground in the rain, hurling abuse at the authorities and begging them to spare the lives of the animals.

"The officers, appointed by the municipality and the region, started chasing the boar piglets to kill them, while they were desperately looking for shelter near their dead mother. After carrying out the massacre, the operators dragged the bodies of the poor animals to a waste disposal truck."

Rosati said there had been "alternatives but they were ignored" by authorities who "preferred the path of violence and cruelty."

Animal rights groups are now proceeding to "denounce all the institutional figures involved - both at the municipal and regional level - for the crimes of mistreatment and killing of animals" - said Rosati - "given that the wild boars were killed without any need."

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Address Via della Cava Aurelia, 00165 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome police kill family of wild boar in kids playground near Vatican

Via della Cava Aurelia, 00165 Roma RM, Italy