An undercover investigation by animal welfare group Viva! Campaigns has exposed pigs being subjected to extreme suffering at a farm supplying pork to supermarket giant Tesco. During shocking video footage, a piglet can be seen being eaten alive by other pigs, sick animals are dumped in gangways, dead piglets are left with their mothers, and distressed animals are crammed into filthy sheds with no access to food or water.
The distressing scenes were filmed at Hogwood Pig Farm in Warwickshire, despite the farm being the subject of a 2017 investigation by Viva! Campaigns which revealed equally appalling and filthy conditions at the 16,000 animal capacity site. Footage from the initial investigation displayed pigs covered in excrement, dying animals whose bodies were left to rot in a sea of maggots, and cannibalism of corpses.
Viva! state that cannibalism is unnatural behaviour for pigs and is caused by such a bleak environment, with dead animals kept with the living despite this practice being against Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) guidelines.
Shockingly, Hogwood farm carries the Red Tractor seal of approval, an industry body claiming to ‘ensure food originates from trustworthy sources.’ Although the earlier Viva! investigation was reported to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Trading Standards and Tesco, all claimed there were no issues on the farm.ff
Regardless of public pressure and demands from Viva! that Tesco drops Hogwood as a supplier, the supermarket continues to purchase from the farm.
Founder and Director of Viva!, Juliet Gellatley, commented: “Despite the overwhelming amount of damning evidence exposed at Hogwood in 2017, both the government and regulatory bodies overseeing the industry have failed to issue any sanctions to this farm. There have been no repercussions for the people who are keeping these animals in such horrific conditions.”
Viva! say they reported evidence from the undercover investigation to the RSPCA and local police. The RSPCA sent a vet to assess the scene, but Viva! is still awaiting a response from them regarding the incident of cannibalism as well as the overall welfare of the pigs at Hogwood farm.oo
Gellatley continued: “Our second investigation shows that Hogwood farm is contemptuous towards animal welfare; with pigs kept in filthy, barren conditions and injured and ill pigs still being left in a gangway with not even a blade of straw for comfort. One little piglet at the bottom of the heap was visibly shaking – she was being eaten alive!… It must have been excruciatingly painful and the look on her face will live with us forever.”
Sadly this investigation is not an isolated incident, as Veganuary’s own recent visit to a pig farm demonstrates.
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