ACTIVISTS GATHER AT CONTROVERSIAL WARWICKSHIRE PIG FARM TO PROTEST AND LAY FLOWERS TODAY
Warwickshire (April 1, 2023) - Today, around fifty animal rights activists and an ex-pig veterinarian are at Bickmarsh Hall farm in Alcester, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire following a gruesome expose by pressure group, Animal Justice Project  between September and November 2022 [2-3].
Photos and videos of the protest are at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1wak16PEb_BilugWHpsBGutOvM6zYVywq?ths=true
Carrying placards and banners with imagery  from the Animal Justice Project investigation, backed by TV star Peter Egan and featured both on ITV News  and in the Mirror , the animal advocates, who adamantly oppose the farming and killing of animals, are giving speeches and laying flowers in memory of the pigs sent off to the abattoir from there. For this sombre event, the group has been joined by an ex-pig veterinarian, Dr. Alice Brough, who is giving a talk outlining her experiences of inspecting Red Tractor Assured farms.
The farm, which is itself Red Tractor assured  and supplying Cranswick Foods  - one of the UK's leading producers of fresh pork  - produces pig meat for supermarkets such as Asda  and Tesco  [10-12], and houses over 8,000 pigs from breeding sows and piglets to fattening pigs  , making it a ‘mega-farm’, defined in the United States as having over 2,500 pigs at any one time .
Cranswick states it insists on the ‘highest standards of animal welfare throughout the supply chain’ and that all its UK producers are ‘independently audited’ . However, in a difficult-to-watch clip, a piglet was documented on a covert camera at 01:35 laying on a concrete floor shivering and groaning, apparently only able to slide in a slow circular motion. At 6am the animal was found by a staff member who pulled the animal across the pen before leaving. The piglet was left to suffer for 13 hours whilst being trodden on and bitten by other piglets. Finally, at 15:40 he was removed by staff. This is a breach of Animal Welfare Act, 2006 , the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations, 2007  and Red Tractor’s own guidelines  which states that animals must not be left to suffer.
In another scene, a pig with a raw and bleeding rectal prolapse (often a problem in fast-growing pigs) is cannibalised by pen mates resulting in bloodied faces. A staff member removed the pig from the pen five hours after they were first seen on the camera. Other pigs were unable to walk from lameness and unable to bear weight on all four legs as they were loaded up for the slaughterhouse – a breach of DEFRA Codes of Practice .
Under the Red Tractor scheme bedding isn't required for all pigs . Pens at Bickmarsh contained no bedding or comfort, only hard slats. Many were filthy, with thick excrement covering the pigs. The animals were documented biting and fighting each other.
Farrowing crates, still legal in the UK, were in use on the farm and bins across the farm were full of dead pigs and piglets.
Rough handling by workers – including hard kicking and slapping – was commonplace when workers moved pigs around site and onto trailers. An electric goad is illegally used, Animal Justice Project claims. Workers are seen hitting pigs during loading, and ramming the animals with metal doors whilst in already overcrowded pens with nowhere to go.
Ayrton Cooper, spokesperson for Animal Justice Project, says: "Today we will be paying tribute to the tens of thousands of pigs who have suffered, and continue to suffer, behind the grim walls of Bickmarsh Hall. The pens, barren of any enrichment; pigs so caked in mud and faeces they are unable to stand; willful neglect and absence of compassion by staff; mother sows confined in crates for weeks on end; bins full of dead pigs; and months of endless boredom and frustration resulting in cannibalism do NOT highlight one 'bad apple' of a farm, but the brutal reality for most pigs farmed in Britain today.”
Independent veterinarian, Dr. Alice Brough BVM&S MRCVS, who viewed the footage and will be present at the demonstration said: "Having worked with hundreds of commercial pig farms, I must say that the scenes at Bickmarsh Hall are devastatingly common in the British pig industry – the filthy, cramped conditions, the barren cages and the disease - and a damning indictment of any assurance schemes in place to retain consumers. People deserve to know what they’re being fed, and the pigs deserve to be free from such profound suffering."
Animal Justice Project is an animal protection NGO based in the UK with over 200,000 followers and an 8-year history campaigning to end cruel animal farming practices. www.animaljusticeproject.com
NOTES TO EDITORS:
2021 - 10,918,000
2020 - 10,693,000
2019 - 10,645,000