Pig dispute raises larger question of rights

SCITUATE – Between coos and murmurs, Vincent Bucca feeds his 400-pound pig Lilly a carrot. “Come on, let’s go,” Bucca says, as he attaches a metal chain from his truck to Lilly’s wooden pen and hauls it seven feet forward. Now Lilly can bask in the mud and graze on the sumac and clover beneath her hooves. Bit by bit, this daily ritual is transforming Appleton Fields off Clapp Road in Scituate into farmland, Bucca says. When Lilly and his other two pigs dig in the mud, they pull up stubborn roots and rocks. They graze on weeds. Their manure acts as fertilizer. “This is just the kind of feeding machine you want for a field overgrowing with sumac,” Bucca says. But not everyone is buying it. For more than a year now, Bucca has been locked in a bitter dispute with neighbor Eliot Beal, who wants the three pigs and five piglets removed. Both men say bigger issues are at stake: Bucca points to a right-to-farm under state law, and Beal holds up the town’s zoning regulations, which permit a commercial livestock farm “but not including a piggery, commercial kennel or fur farm.” Bucca says the tug of war highlights a broader statewide problem, as development threatens the little farmland remaining on the South Shore. “In a way, I’m glad this issue came up,” he says. “It gives not just Scituate, but every town, a notification that with more and more development, as agriculture gets squeezed, these things are going to come up.” Bucca has a 10-year lease on the land, paying the town $10

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