Hogwood: a modern horror story | Viva! - The Vegan Charity

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"Your documentary handled an incredibly disturbing topic very well and it's certainly changed a few of our staff's food shopping habits because of it" - Comment from the British Documentary Film Festival Judges

 

out now on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Google Play – available worldwide!

You are invited to follow our intrepid group of undercover investigators as they expose shocking atrocities inside Hogwood farm. The conspiracy unfolds as we fight against some of the most powerful players in the animal agriculture industry. This is a gripping tale of negligence, greed and inaction, and our unrelenting fight to help the pigs trapped in Hogwood farm.

HOGWOOD is available on Amazon Prime in over 60 countries, including the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Spain, Germany and many more! 

 

 

 

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Presented by Jerome Flynn Jerome originally shot to fame as one half of pop duo Robson & Jerome and is now best known for his role as Bronn in the HBO series Game of Thrones. Other roles include Bennet Drake in Ripper Street and Paddy Garvey of the King's Fusiliers in the ITV series Soldier Soldier. "It is an honour to be presenting this very important film. After seeing the horrendous conditions and animal abuse that is happening behind Hogwood’s walls I had to do something. The pigs of Hogwood aren’t just meat products, they are sensitive, emotionally aware beings just like us and they deserve better than this.”
Running at just over 30 minutes, HOGWOOD explores the reasons behind factory farming and exposes the negligence and inaction by government bodies and corporations alike. It highlights how meat pollutes our planet and puts us at risk from disease outbreak. It explores why factory farming is supported and follows the brave fight to expose the truth and change the world.

Narrated by Jerome Flynn, best known for his role as Bronn in HBO’s Game of Thrones, the documentary centres around a seemingly idyllic pig farm, named Hogwood. Jerome opens the documentary against the picturesque backdrop of rural England, just minutes away from Hogwood Farm. He tells the captivating tale of HOGWOOD and how it came to be one of the most infamous pig farms in the UK. His narrative is intertwined with undercover footage and interviews with investigators and activists representing the animal welfare group Viva! — who spearheaded the campaign. The film goes onto feature interviews with a livestock vet speaking out about her horrific on-the-job experiences for the first time. It concludes with expert comment from GP and public health expert, Dr Josh Cullimore and Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore.
Directed by Tony Wardle "I have been producing investigative documentaries for many years and no film has been more harrowing than HOGWOOD. The name 'a modern horror story' could not be more apt; there are modern horror stories taking place each day in the British countryside. Not only are these horrors hidden from sight, but they are endorsed by huge corporations and the Government. That is why this film had to be made — because the public has a right to see what takes place beyond the factory farm walls."

Hogwood is about more than just a farm

Dr Josh Cullimore on disease outbreak
Dr Alice Brough on systematic abuse
Juliet Gellatley on the epic battle for justice
Joseph Poore on meat polluting our planet
Viva! investigated Hogwood pig farm four times from 2017 to 2019. Year after year, we recorded a catalogue of cruelty including extreme overcrowding, routine mutilation, sick and dying pigs abandoned in gangways, painful lacerations and live cannibalism. This was one of our biggest campaigns to date and with your overwhelming support, Red Tractor and Tesco finally dropped Hogwood. Like many of our supporters, we couldn’t help but think about the pigs trapped inside Hogwood. We know that Hogwood is a typical pig farm; these conditions are enforced and supported by huge corporations and government bodies alike. We realised that Hogwood is part of a bigger story, one that aims to end factory farming for good — and so we created HOGWOOD: a modern horror story. Now we need your help to get this film seen by the masses.

WATCH. REVIEW. SHARE.

Peter Egan, British Actor best known for his roles in the TV shows Ever Decreasing Circles and Downton Abbey, and the films Chariots of Fire, Bean, and Death at a Funeral. "I truly believe HOGWOOD can change the hearts and minds of all who watch it. This powerful documentary could put an end to the damaging animal industries which threaten our very existence. HOGWOOD must be shared far and wide."

 

(Photo credit: Maria Slough)
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THE FACTS

 

  • Viva! has investigated Hogwood pig farm four times from 2017 to 2019. Hogwood  was a Red Tractor approved farm, supplying supermarket giant Tesco, and major food producer Cranswick plc, supposedly representing the best of British farming.
  • In 2019, Hogwood farm was dropped by Tesco, Cranswick plc and Red Tractor. Despite this landslide victory, it remains the most disturbing and harrowing investigation of them all.
  • Each person who has seen the investigation footage had a powerful reaction and so Viva! crowdfunded to produce the documentary, smashing their target and raising over £10,000 in the first 24 hours alone.
  • HOGWOOD has already sent ripples throughout the animal agriculture industry. It sparked a nationwide Day of Action where thousands of people came together to protest outside 150 Tesco stores. Over 70,000 people signed a petition urging Tesco to drop Hogwood. It became one of Viva!’s most far-reaching campaigns to date.
  • Running at just over 30 minutes long, HOGWOOD takes you beyond the factory farm walls. It is the culmination of months of investigative work by the Viva! team who worked tirelessly to expose the kind of unspeakable cruelty to animals many mistakenly think we have consigned to the history books.
  • HOGWOOD is narrated by Jerome Flynn, the Game of Thrones star who shot to fame as one half of Robson and Jerome. He tells the captivating tale of Hogwood, intertwined with interviews with the intrepid Viva! investigators and with expert comment from GP and public health expert Dr Josh Cullimore, pig vet Dr Alice Brough and Oxford University environmental researcher Joseph Poore.
  • HOGWOOD is set to launch on March 26 at the Houses of Commons. The launch will be followed by a Q&A with Jerome Flynn, Labour MP Christina Rees, Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, and the producers of the film.

 

 

FAQ's

 

Is Hogwood a typical pig farm?

Yes. The vast majority of ‘meat’ pigs in the UK are reared in factory farms, with only 3 per cent of pigs raised for slaughter spending their whole lives outdoors. Conditions found at Hogwood farm typify standard pig farming practices and conditions; routine mutilations, limited space for the animals, no access to the outdoors and a barren, highly unnatural environment with concrete or slatted floors and little or no bedding.

Is it usual for mother pigs to be inside crates?

Mothers at Hogwood give birth in crates (called farrowing crates) which severely restrict their movement. This is a common practice in the UK with two thirds of sows giving birth in these cruel contraptions. The mother is usually put in the crate a week before she is due to give birth and kept there for a further month, until her piglets are forcibly weaned and taken from her.

Aren't crates illegal?

Farrowing crates are legal in the UK and widely used. The sow stall is, however, illegal where mother pigs are kept in metal-barred stalls permanently. Instead in the UK, whilst they are pregnant indoor mother pigs are kept in groups in barren cells with nothing whatsoever to do and then give birth in crates.

Are the conditions at Hogwood legal?

Many of the conditions found at Hogwood farm comply with the bare minimum ‘code of recommendations for the welfare of livestock’, set out by the government. What Viva!’s footage shows is the abysmal reality of these poor standards, that are supposedly in place to protect animal welfare. The RSPCA indicated that there was no legal action they could or would take on the farm, even though they were concerned about the welfare of the pigs, stating ‘[this footage] highlights the inadequacy of the law to protect the welfare of pigs’.

Why did Viva! investigate Hogwood?

Viva! received a tip-off from a concerned member of the public about conditions inside Hogwood. Following an initial visit to the farm in Spring 2017, Viva! launched a full investigation and subsequent campaign urging the government to take action and for Tesco to drop the farm as a supplier.

I want to see more about the investigations

Great! Please go to viva.org.uk/hogwood

How many pigs are killed for food in the UK?

About 10 million a year. That’s about 200,000 every week.

How old are pigs when they are killed?

  • Pigs bred for meat are killed at six months old.
  • Mother pigs are killed at three to five years old.
  • Breeding boars are killed at three to four years old.

What is the natural lifespan of a pig?

It depends on the breed and conditions and varies widely from eight to 27 years.

How many animals are killed for food in the UK?

Over one billion land animals are slaughtered for food in the UK every year. In addition, 4.5 billion fish and 2.6 billion shellfish are killed, totalling over eight billion animals killed.

How many animals are factory farmed?

Over three quarters of land animals killed for food in the UK are factory farmed, totalling over 750 million animals every year.

Who owns Red Tractor?

Assured Food Standards licenses the Red Tractor label; it was launched in 2000 by the National Farmers Union of England and Wales. If a farmer wants to have their produce marked as Red Tractor Assured, they pay a licence fee each year and are inspected by Red Tractor. It is run by the farming industry for the farming industry.

How did Red Tractor, Tesco and the RSPCA respond to Viva!’s Hogwood investigations?

Red Tractor stated that they didn’t find any breaches of animal welfare.

On 21 September 2017, Tesco responded to Viva!’s first investigation by stating that ‘we are satisfied with the conditions, and that the animals are treated well’. They took no action over any of the footage Viva! showed them. Following two years of pressure and two more investigations, on 20 August 2019 Tesco decided that ‘these are distressing and unacceptable scenes [...] fall well below the high animal welfare standards we require from all of our suppliers’. They dropped Hogwood as a pork supplier.

In the Banbury Guardian on 26 June 2017, the RSPCA stated that it was ‘concerned about the welfare’ of the pigs and ‘sadly, in general, the conditions seen in the footage appear to be compliant with legal requirements, which highlights the inadequacy of the law to protect the welfare of pigs’.

Did Viva! notify the government?

Viva! reported the farm to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) following each investigation; the government did not take any action on the farm.

What were Hogwood dumping in the woods?

The carcasses of pigs; Viva! found skulls and other remains of pigs around the farm. The plastic ear tags remained as identification that they were farmed animals. This is now an illegal act in the UK and as far as we are aware, Hogwood no longer dump carcasses there.

Was there media coverage?

The investigation has gained extensive media coverage, including national exclusives in the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and The Sun. For a full list of coverage see here: viva.org.uk/hogwood/press

Did Viva! organise protests?

When it became apparent that Red Tractor, Tesco and the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) were not going to take any action, Viva! launched a nationwide campaign, with protestors outside over 150 Tesco stores. A video van showed the reality of Hogwood’s conditions to Tesco customers, and volunteers and staff informed people of the reality of what was happening inside one of Tesco’s pork suppliers.

Viva! also took to the streets with our FaceOff campaign, asking members of the public to view Hogwood footage. For more information on FaceOff outreach and to see how the public reacted, see here: viva.org.uk/faceoff/pigs/face

When did Tesco, Red Tractor and Cranswick plc drop Hogwood?

On 20 August 2019, Tesco cancelled its partnership with Hogwood, while Red Tractor suspended Hogwood’s membership to the assurance scheme. Cranswick plc, one of the UK’s largest food producers, described the footage as ‘indefensible’ and decided to ‘permanently cease accepting any future deliveries from Hogwood farm’.

Does the use of antibiotics in animals affect humans?

The NHS has reported that antibiotic use in farmed animals threatens human health; by using antibiotics on farmed animals, harmful strains of bacteria can mutate to become resistant to the antibiotics and render them ineffective, not just in farmed animals but also in humans. Bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics are known as superbugs, which worldwide, already result in 700,000 deaths a year.

It is estimated that the number of people who die from antibiotic resistance will be more than the number of people who die from cancer by 2050 (around 10 million per year worldwide) unless urgent action is taken, including a severe restriction on the use of antibiotics in animal farming and a decrease in animal consumption.

Why do farmers use antibiotics if they are harmful to human health?

In farms such as Hogwood, a typical factory farm, the animals are kept in unnatural and unhygienic environments that lead to poor health; many would not reach slaughter weight, or survive long enough to be slaughtered, without the use of antibiotics. They are weaned at a fraction of their natural weaning age, leaving their guts underdeveloped and their immune systems weak. They’re kept in close confinement with no opportunity to separate their living area with their toilet and are fed unnatural diets made up of things like cereals, soya, oils and fishmeal.

The United Nations, and even the industry itself, has described animal farming’s use of antibiotics as a threat to human health. The only guaranteed way of reducing antibiotic use in agriculture is by turning to vegan products.

What diseases are common on UK pig farms?

Pigs are susceptible to many diseases in confined, intensive units. Early weaning causes huge stress to young piglets and profoundly alters their immune systems so that scouring (severe diarrhoea) is a major problem. Piglets are dosed with drugs on a daily basis to counteract this. Respiratory disease is a huge concern in older animals, as is pleuropneumonia, ‘blue ear’, porcine respiratory disease complex, pneumonic pasteurellosis, as well as Salmonella and E coli outbreaks and many other diseases.

Are pigs mutilated at Hogwood?

Pigs at Hogwood have their tails docked. Tail docking is routinely inflicted on over four fifths of pigs across the UK in an attempt to stop tail biting. The lower part of the tail is cut off (without anaesthetic or painkillers) making the remainder of the tail more sensitive - the idea being that pigs more quickly escape each other when they are being bitten!

Why do pigs tail bite?

Tail biting is an abnormal behaviour not seen in wild animals - and is caused directly by the poor conditions the pigs live in. It is known that the complete lack of foraging materials, overcrowding, poor air (that can harm the pig’s respiratory system) and poor, boring diets all contribute to this behaviour.

How do you ensure you don’t compromise the biosecurity of a farm?

Our investigators follow stringent biosecurity practices at all times - wearing clean clothing, disposable coveralls, gloves and shoe covers (if disinfectant foot dips are not available on site), and observing sufficient down-time between entry to different farms.

How do investigators access these farms?

In the UK, trespass is a civil matter and in most cases it’s the only way consumers are able to see inside these places for themselves. Our investigators gain access, without any damage, through gates or doors in order to shine a spotlight in the dark corners of animal agriculture. Most people would agree that entry on to a factory farm to film the conditions of the animals is a justifiable action that is in the public interest.

The footage captured by brave investigators has led to national debate, people changing their eating habits to be less cruel and more environmentally friendly and to policy reforms.

What has happened to the Hogwood pigs?

Cranswick plc, one of the largest UK producers of food, decided to ‘permanently cease accepting any future deliveries from Hogwood farm’, while Tesco dropped their partnership and Red Tractor suspended the farm’s licence after Viva!’s fourth investigation. This has meant that it would be extremely difficult to find any large-scale company who would want to associate with Hogwood.

Viva! does not know the exact situation, but it is likely that Hogwood has decreased the number of pigs it breeds, rears and slaughters as a result of losing these major business partners.

Why hasn’t Hogwood been shut down?

Whilst Viva!’s repeated investigations eventually succeeded in Hogwood being suspended from Red Tractor and dropped by Tesco and Cranswick plc, Hogwood farm is still in operation and has not been shut down.

Although we can continue to put pressure on the APHA to investigate the welfare at Hogwood, we have limited power to shut farms down, which is why we must continue to expose farms like Hogwood to show the public that this is the norm rather than the exception. Consumers can then have a genuine and informed choice over what they buy at the supermarket. Fortunately, many people are now choosing vegan foods.

What is Viva!’s main aim when going into an investigation?

Viva!’s main aim is to expose the reality of modern British farming to the public and allow people to have a more informed choice on whether they want to fund animal industries once they see what standard practice on farmed animals looks like.

Is pork as bad for your health as other red meats like beef and lamb?

Yes it is. Pork has an image problem. Bacon and ham are processed meats, which the World Health Organisation categorise as a Class 1 carcinogen (i.e. known to cause cancer). A huge body of evidence supports the links between processed meat and bowel cancer and a number of mechanisms suggesting how it does so have been suggested.

Pork medallions or chops for example, are classed as a red meat, which the WHO say probably causes cancer… For this reason, the industry has unsuccessfully tried to reclassify pork as a white meat.

From 1987-2011 the US National Pork Board ran the advertising slogan “Pork. The Other White Meat” in an effort to suggest that pork was healthier than other red meats. However, neither the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) nor the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies pork as a white meat.

More recently, the ‘Love Pork’ campaign from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – a levy board funded by farmers – ran TV ads claiming that pork is just as healthy as chicken. Not a great claim as modern supermarket chickens now contain more fat than protein. The AHDB ads are littered with caveats explaining at the foot of the page in small writing that you have to trim off any visible fat. So pork is low in fat, if you remove the fat!. lovepork.co.uk/pork-and-healthy-eating/

Pork is not a healthy food and there are no studies saying you should eat five sausages a day! For more info see the meat report: vivahealth.org.uk/resources/meat-truth-report

White meat is not the answer either. With every year it’s become a less and less healthy product, with almost eight times as much fat in a kilo of chicken as there was in 1870, less iron, less phosphorus and less omega 3, all as a result of modern methods of breeding and rearing chickens. vivahealth.org.uk/resources/white-meat-myths-guide

How can people help?

As a charity we rely on our fantastic supporters to help fund our work, campaign and run many events. If you would like to get involved, then please sign up to our Street Action Network to get the inside scoop on upcoming events at www.viva.org.uk/streetaction.

If you are a student, please see our dedicated university outreach campaign here: viva.org.uk/university-outreach. You can join at viva.org.uk/join - we’d love you to be a part of Viva! and our work to stop animal cruelty.

We also are only able to act for animals through the generosity of people like you. If you would like to help us carry out more investigations and launch more initiative campaigns to raise awareness about animal farming, please go to viva.org.uk/donate and give what you can.

What environmental problems are caused by animal farming?

The University of Oxford published a study in 2018 which analysed almost 40,000 farms around the world, including the UK, and remains the most comprehensive study to date on the environmental impact of plant and animal foods. The peer-reviewed research concluded that the single biggest action we can take for the planet is to go vegan. For more information please see viva.org.uk/vegan-now

I want to go vegan now but how do I begin?

Amazing! So many people say that going vegan is undoubtedly the best decision that they have ever made. We are dedicated to making the transition to veganism as easy as possible and so all our resources are free to use. Try viva.org.uk/easyvegan

Please see veganrecipeclub.org.uk for over 500 tried-and-tested vegan recipes and 30dayvegan.viva.org.uk for free meal plans for 30 days along with tips on the way.

And if you ever have a burning vegan question you can always drop our experts a question at info@viva.org.uk or give us a call on 0117 944 1000 (Mon-Fri, 9-6).

 

In the media

Sky News Radio

Juliet Gellatley, Viva!'s founder and director, features on Sky News Radio to discuss the release of HOGWOOD: a modern horror story.

Jerome Flynn, presenter of the HOGWOOD: a modern horror story, also joined Sky News Radio to promote the documentary and discuss the need to end factory farming.

 

Talk Radio

Jerome Flynn, presenter of HOGWOOD: a modern horror story, promotes the documentary launch and discusses the end of factory farming on Talk Radio.

BBC Radio Scotland

Jerome Flynn talks with BBC Radio Scotland to promote HOGWOOD: a modern horror story.

BBC Radio Leicester

Jerome joins BBC Radio Leicester to discuss HOGWOOD: a modern horror story.

 

Reviews

BRWC

By Thomas White.

Hogwood is an unflinching documentary which uncovers the shocking conditions under which animals are subjected to in the factory pig farming industry. We follow activists and campaigners from the animal welfare group Viva! as they go undercover to investigate one such facility in particular, the somewhat quaintly named Hogwood farm.

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Film industry network

We're no stranger to conspiracy theories but documentary 'HOGWOOD: a modern horror story' reveals a real and shocking home-grown conspiracy that sheds light on the true impact of intensive farming.

Read more

General reviews