An acclaimed documentary that exposes the UK’s pig meat industry is now available to watch on Netflix.
Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story comes from animal rights organization Viva!. It exposes factory farming in the UK, providing a “rare glimpse into an industry that profits from extreme exploitation.”
It follows a team of investigators as they uncover animal abuse and extreme welfare violations at Hogwood pig farm in Warwickshire, England.
“Having Hogwood on Netflix is another landmark in Viva!’s long and difficult journey to expose the truth,” Viva!’s founder Juliet Gellatley told Plant Based News. “It is vital that we reach as many people as possible to consign factory farming to the history books. The idyllic picture of UK animal farming that is fed to us by the industry is false: watch Hogwood and discover the truth for yourself.”
At the time of the investigation, Hogwood was a major supplier to Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain. It was also “Red Tractor assured,” a label the industry claims is given to farms with “high standards.”
What does Red Tractor mean?
Red Tractor is a so-called “assurance label” intended to reassure UK consumers that the meat they are buying is high quality.
Many people have criticized the label, however, on the grounds that animals in such farms are still subjected to cruelty. For example, pigs in Red Tractor farms can have their tails cut off without pain relief.
Further, mother pigs are often kept in barred caging systems known as farrowing crates. Piglets will suckle from a small area next to the cage called “the creep,” but the sow cannot access her children.
There is also a lack of enforcement of Red Tractor rules. A 2018/19 investigation by Animal Aid found that each of the six certified pig farms it looked at were not only breaking Red Tractor guidelines, but also animal welfare laws.
Investigators caught workers beating pigs with pitchforks. In one farm in Norfolk, investigators claimed that they found female pigs being kept in gestation crates “for days on end.” (Gestation crates are small, restrictive cages used to confine sows during their pregnancy, and they’ve been banned in the UK since 1999.)
The UK pig farming industry
It’s thought that at least 60 percent of the 10 million pigs killed for food each year in the UK are factory farmed. And this number appears to be growing. Earlier this year, an influx of so-called “mega farms” was reported across the country. These farms can house hundreds of thousands of animals at a time.
In these facilities (as well as smaller farming operations), pigs raised for human consumption are typically forcibly impregnated from the age of around six months. Piglets often have their tails docked and teeth clipped.
Further, farmers will routinely kill sick piglets with a process known as “thumping,” which involves picking the young animals up by their back legs and bashing their head against the wall or floor. According to the National Pig Association, this is an “effective and appropriate way of humanely killing a piglet.”
Hogwood is available to watch on Netflix UK, and in most European countries.