VIDEO: SCENES OF PIGS IN FILTH AND LEFT HOURS TO DIE ON FARM, CAMPAIGNERS SAY, REVEAL A “ROTTEN” INDUSTRY
Warwickshire (March 13, 2023) - As seen in Sunday Mirror  Pressure group, Animal Justice Project , backed by TV star and campaigner Peter Egan, have secretly filmed over three months  inside a farm rearing pigs for Cranswick Country Foods  – one of the UK’s leading producers of fresh pork , supplying major supermarkets Asda , Tesco [7-9], Morrisons , Sainsbury’s [11 - 13] and Marks & Spencer . Also pet food manufacturer, Grove Pet Foods .
Scenes captured on hidden cameras at Red Tractor assured , Bickmarsh Hall farm in Warwickshire, the group says, ‘are some of the worst’ they’ve seen, breaking both animal welfare regulations, despite Cranswick’s claim to ensure compliance , and industry guidelines. Findings have been sent to Trading Standards and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
The new video released by Animal Justice Project and narrated by Downtown Abbey star, Peter Egan, reveals an insight into one of the UK’s ‘mega-farms’ housing intensively 8,000 pigs and piglets in 46 sheds – from breeding sows and fattening pigs to sows and piglets [4, 17], making it a ‘mega-farm’, defined in the United States as having over 2,500 pigs at any one time . Despite the trend in veganism (more than two-thirds Brits are interested in veganism) , the number of pigs killed in the UK continues to increase. Almost 11 million pigs were killed in 2021.
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 potential breach of Animal Welfare Act, 2006 , the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations, 2007  and Red Tractor’s own guidelines  which states animals must not be left to suffer.
In another scene, a pig with a bloody rectal prolapse (often a problem in fast-growing pigs) is cannibalised by pen mates resulting in blooded 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 – with only five feed troughs for 25+ pigs.
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 by a truck driver at the farm. Workers are seen hitting pigs during loading, and ramming the animals with metal doors whilst in already overcrowded pens when they had nowhere to go.
Ex-pig veterinarian, Dr Alice Brough MRCVS, who viewed the footage said: “This farm is the epitome of squalor, and unfortunately represents the norm for a large proportion of Britain’s pig farms. Pigs are forced to live in filthy, wet, bare concrete pens, completely covered in their own urine and faeces with no respite. These are naturally extremely hygienic animals, and these cramped, dirty and very poorly enriched conditions are undoubtedly causing both physiological and psychological damage. The stress induced by such an environment and lack of appropriate care appears to be contributing to the presence of disease on farm, with associated mortality evidenced by full ‘dead bins’, and vice behaviours like tail biting and cannibalism. The level of consideration shown for the pigs by farm staff is deeply concerning, and it is evident that problems are not promptly and appropriately dealt with, leading to prolonged and entirely avoidable suffering.”
Claire Palmer, Spokesperson for Animal Justice Project says: “Sadly, in this case, cameras don’t lie. Our footage captures the grim reality for pigs on modern-day farms in Britain as pork sales continue to rise. Consumers are promised the world when it comes to their food choices, with Red Tractor, which includes 95% of UKs pigs under its label, offering public-pleasing assurances and high welfare claims, and corporate responsibility supermarket policies. On Bickmarsh Hall farm, pigs were living in filth and faeces, left to suffer, and confined inside concrete cells. Consumers must now be asking themselves, is a bacon sandwich or pork pie really worth that?”
Peter Egan says: "Despite having witnessed many harrowing scenes of animal cruelty, I've found the video taken at Bickmarsh Hall farm particularly heart-breaking. To see such intelligent and sensitive animals being so horrifically abused, from being hit, kicked, left to die, living in filth, and incarcerated in cages, reveals a callous industry that leaves a grave mark on humanity.”
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