You might remember the pigs we discovered at Hogwood farm in 2017. The story was covered by the Sunday Mirror and made massive waves in the media and industry.
The conditions that we discovered were atrocious. We found a mother giving birth and the expression on her face was one of the most upsetting sights that we have ever seen - the hopelessness of a mother giving birth in a metal crate onto cold, unforgiving concrete. All around her, pigs were filthy - forced into barren conditions with sick animals abandoned to die among the living.
Viva! investigators walked into the same shed - going down the same corridor and opening the same door that they had a year ago.
There was little difference in the conditions between then and now.
Viva!'s founder and director, Juliet Gellatley, tells the story of what she found.
(warning: disturbing pictures below)
A year ago I investigated Hogwood and found severe overcrowding, pigs covered in excreta, barren, filthy conditions, animals abandoned to die, cannibalism of corpses left to rot amongst the living and decaying piglets were engulfed in a sea of writhing maggots. So it was with great trepidation that Viva! investigators walked down the same gangway. It had been a year since I had seen Hogwood farm - and I hoped, rather than expected, to find that conditions had changed.
On the walkway
In the gangway lay about 10 pigs. They had been left with no access to water, food or bedding. The pig nearest to us had half an ear missing. As we knelt to record the bite marks, a bloodied snout appeared out of the huddle.
Further down the walkway, beneath what seemed like a mass of pig bodies, lay a blood bath. One little piglet at the bottom of the heap was visibly shaking - she was being eaten alive! Other pigs were biting at her hind legs, which were visibly injured and bloodied. She must have been in excruciating pain, but she was making no effort to escape. There was nowhere else for her to go. It was mortifying - they had no food or water when we filmed and, in their desperation, had turned on each other.
The farrowing sheds
In the farrowing sheds, everything was much the same. Rows and rows of imprisoned mothers were barely able to move, with not even a strand of straw for comfort.
One mother was heavily pregnant. Trapped in her crate, she pushed desperately at a loose bar. It was truly heartbreaking. She probably knew that she would never be allowed to be a mother to her babies, never nuzzle or nurture them. She would be a milk-provider, nothing more.
In another crate we saw one baby struggling and shivering while another had already died. It was a sad reminder of how society turns a blind eye to the suffering of animals killed for meat.
What could we do?
We had intended to leave unnoticed. But, having seen the extent of the suffering, we couldn't leave. We called a vet, the RSPCA and the police.
The RSPCA initially didn't want to be involved and it was very difficult to find a local vet who would come to the scene. At 5am, the police, RSPCA and vet finally arrived.
They would not allow us to take them straight to the piglet who was being eaten alive, who desperately needed someone to intervene. Two hours later, to our utter disbelief, they came back and said that they had not even treated the poor animal - not even taken her to safety or tended her leg. The vet declared she wasn't a pig specialist and would need to call another vet - how much of a specialist do you need to be to treat a gaping wound?
We were sickened to the core. We made an official complaint to the government vets - just as we had a year ago.
We called Tesco to ask them if Hogwood still supplies them, and they confirmed that they do.
What should make everyone angry is that Tesco claim the conditions inside Hogwood horror farm are acceptable.
What can you do?
Please help us get the word out about the plight of the Hogwood pigs.
We need your support to help us expose this horrible farm. We want to see it closed - or, at the very least, for Tesco to stop using them. With your support, we can show the public the grim reality of factory farming and talk to them about going vegan.
Help us put the pressure on. Please DONATE to help us continue this campaign. Help us to get justice for these animals.