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Cute little piggies find fame online

It is less Big Brother and more Pig Mother. A dozen new-born piglets have become international celebrities after their first days were broadcast live on the internet by a school in Cornwall.

The 24-hour-a-day webcast was a typical project for the rural secondary, which renamed itself community school two years ago to underline its work with technology.

More than 6,300 people watched live webcam pictures from the school's animal enclosure the day after Delores, a Durok cross-bred sow, gave birth to her litter. The number of visitors to the site then soared past 30,000 after reports on the BBC, CNN and television and radio stations in Canada and Australia.

The school is now asking for donations to help feed its animals and suggestions for names for the seven male and five female piglets.

Dave Garland, assistant head, said the webcast was a way to combine the rural element of the school with its specialisms in science, maths and computing.

"People said, 'It's just a camera pointing at some pigs in a shed,'" he said. "But I knew it was going to be a big attraction because the piglets are unbelievably cute."

Pupils hope to create "pigcasts", mp3 recordings of the piglets which can be downloaded as podcasts. Suggested names for the piglets so far include Del Boy Trotter, Pigasso and Bacon Butty.

Mr Garland said it was unusual to name the piglets because the school planned to sell them eventually to be butchered.

"Our students aren't squeamish about that," he said. "The pigs will be slaughtered and eaten, but they will make good-quality meat."

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