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“This is beyond terrible. This is beyond sad. This is what we, the human race, do when we choose to eat animals.”
Undercover footage taken by animal charity Viva! of Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire is distressing to watch – showing pigs eating the corpses of other pigs and others clearly in pain.
Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley claims the conditions at Hogwood Farm – owned by Brian Hobill – are some of the worst she has ever seen.
‘Catalogue of suffering’
Gellatley said: “Hogwood hides a catalogue of pain and suffering. Pigs were so tightly crammed into a disgustingly dirty industrial unit that it was hard to walk through them.
“Many were covered in lacerations and all were smeared in filth. In another shed, pigs were kept in groups in bare concrete cells with slatted wooden gangways.
“There was the cynical addition of a chain with plastic sheathing for biting hung limply, its novelty value long gone. This is to meet the government’s pathetic recommendations on ‘environmental enrichment’!
“No straw, no bedding, just harsh, soiled floors, concrete walls and a life filled with utter boredom, frustration and no outlet for those active, intelligent, inquisitive minds.
“This, it is claimed, are the best animal welfare conditions in the world.”
The footage shows some of the pigs eating the body of another pig. But this behaviour is unnatural, according to Gellatley, who says: “It is caused by this bleak environment.
“Viewers will see in the same pen, tucked away in a corner, are two pig skulls, a jaw and a leg. Presumably they are from pigs that have died and their carcasses left there to rot.
“We found sick pigs were found dumped in gangways, surrounded by dead pigs with no access to food or water. Others were found dying in a filthy shed festooned in cobwebs.
“Farm Animal Welfare Council [FAWC] guidelines state dead animals should be removed from the living and diseased animals should be kept in isolation.”
Animal care is ‘top priority’
Farmer Brian Hobill told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The care of our animals is our top priority. The pictures taken by Juliet Gellatley, leader of an extremist vegan group, do not represent the general health of the animals on the farm.
“There does appear to be shortcomings on deadstock removal. However, we will review our policies and ensure these are followed.”
But according to Viva!: “The heart-breaking footage reveals a catalogue of pain and suffering that cannot be ignored – extreme overcrowding inside vast, barren sheds housing thousands of pigs, routine tail mutilations, cruel farrowing crates, filthy and waterlogged floors, sick and dying pigs left in a gangway and shed, no meaningful environmental stimulation and piles of decaying and maggot-infested piglets left to rot in a wheelbarrow.”
You can sign Viva!’s petition urging the UK Government to close down Hogwood Farm here.