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Horrific footage of farm workers smashing screaming piglets against a wall has been released by leading animal protection organization Animal Equality.
The footage from Rosebury Farm in Dunstable, which supplies major retailers as well as local butchers, has led to the facility losing its Red Tractor certification.
It shows a worker swinging tiny piglets by a back leg and smashing their head against the wall – one continues to kick for at least 10 seconds. In addition, according to Animal Equality, it features ‘piglets screaming in agony as the tips of their tiny teeth are clipped off without pain relief, terrified pigs being shocked repeatedly with an electric prod to force them onto the slaughter truck, and a tiny piglet frothing at the mouth, having been thrown onto a pile of dead piglets and left for dead hours earlier’.
After viewing the footage – which was passed to Animal Equality UK earlier this month – Executive Director Dr. Toni Shephard said: “The sound of piglets’ heads being smashed against the wall, the cries of agony as their tiny teeth are clipped, and the terrified squeals of pigs being forced onto the slaughter truck with electric shocks could all be straight out of a horror film.
“Yet these harrowing scenes are from the much romanticised local, family farm producing British pork under the Red Tractor label.
“It’s time consumers were told the truth – labels and certificates do not prevent animals from suffering in the meat industry, but choosing from the ever-increasing selection of meat-free options will.”
Veterinary expert Professor Andrew Knight from the University of Winchester’s Centre for Animal Welfare also viewed the footage and confirmed that it showed ‘inhumane handling and killing of piglets’ as well as ‘excessive and inappropriate use of an electric prod likely to cause pain and fear’.
The footage is extremely graphic
Speaking about the farm, a Red Tractor spokesperson said: “The assessment did confirm a number of non-conformance issues that do not adhere to Red Tractor standards.
“The use of the goad specifically…is not allowed in Red Tractor farm standards. As a result, Rosebury Farm’s Red Tractor assurance certificate has been withdrawn.”
Michael Thorne, who runs Rosebury Farm, told The Times: “I apologise for my actions and accept that there were shortcomings in the way that I managed the farm.
“The pigs have been my livelihood for the last 25 years so their welfare is of utmost importance to me.
“In future, I will ensure that all staff including myself have the latest training and resource to be able to manage the farm in a way that the public would expect.”