side of British pig farming
Illegal practices, despair and neglect exposed on Farm Assured farms
Undercover footage taken on pig farms in the North East in March 2008 is indicative of an industry where animal welfare is routinely ignored, say animal campaigning group Viva!. Investigations around the country by the group show that the problem is widespread and negates the claims and new campaign by the pig industry that buying British is a guarantee of animals being treated well.
Viva!’s investigation uncovered appalling scenes of neglect on two farms belonging to the Farm Assured scheme – which the public are led to believe promises good welfare. Investigators found dead and rotting pigs and piglets lying uncollected outside units; sows with open sores imprisoned in metal crates; pigs kept in concrete pens with no bedding or environmental enrichment; piglets huddled together, covered in flies; and a piglet so badly crippled he had to drag himself across the floor by his front legs. The group also believes they have uncovered potential law breaking on one farm, which Defra is currently investigating.
Despite the similar names, these farms are not owned by the same people. For more details on the investigation, and for other (hi-res) images please contact Justin Kerswell or Helen Rossiter on 0117 944 1000 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more on Viva!'s campaign against the factory farming of pigs visit www.piggles.org.uk
Westfield Piggeries, Sherburn, Malton: These little piglets are huddled together, covered in flies. Their mother can't get to them because she's trapped in a highly restrictive farrowing crate. One of them is so crippled he has to drag himself across the floor by his front legs.
Westfield Piggeries, Sherburn, Malton: this sow is probably so worn out from being impregnated time and time again that she is being sent to the abattoir - see the word "CULL" spray painted on her back. These group housed sows have no bedding and no manipulable materials - this is against the law. Defra are currently investigating after our tip-off.
Westfield Farm, Eryholme, Nr Darlington: this little weaner piglet has been discarded outside one of the sheds. He was just one of the piglets (ten in total) who were scattered uncollected outside the sheds. Some of them have been clearly there for a long time, which raises distinct concerns about disease and bio-security.
Westfield Farm, Eryholme, Nr Darlington: this poor sow has a pronounced tumour growing from her belly, which could have caused her great discomfort and pain. This condition is clearly not new. Two other dead adult pigs lie behind her with bloody mouths; there was another with a bruised and swollen vulva. All were left outside the farms 'finishing' unit in the open air.
Bagley Farm. Dalton Gates, Nr Darlington: our
investigators also investigated a third farm, where they found this sow who
looks dejected and depressed. It's no surprise, she won't be able to turn around
for five weeks and may be driven mad by the isolation and boredom of her
surrounding. This is legal. 70 per cent of Britain's sows are forced into these
crates before giving birth and are kept there for up to five weeks. It is
supposed to stop piglets being crushed, but overall piglet mortality is lower on
outdoor free-range units. It is more about protecting profits than protecting