The footage, released by welfare group Animal Equity and first aired on Sky News, showed incidents of pigs being kicked in the face and head repeatedly, being jabbed with a pitchfork, marker paint being sprayed up a pig’s nose, gates being slammed on pigs’ heads, and leaving a pig in need of veterinary care for 48 hours before shooting it. There was also footage obtained of workers laughing about the abuse and swearing at the pigs.
The farm in question, Fir Tree Farm, which is run by the Godfrey family, released a statement in response to the footage. “We were shocked by the actions of those involved as their abhorrent behaviour does not represent our business. We are a family-run farm where the care and welfare of our pigs is paramount.
“We have been able to identify the four individuals in the film and, following an immediate investigation, their employment has been terminated. We voluntarily reported these incidents to the police and regulatory bodies and are cooperating fully with the RSPCA investigation, which may result in criminal prosecution of those involved. We understand that people will be shocked by these images and, like them, this has been both a shocking and deeply upsetting time for us and the rest of our team.”
A spokesperson for the National Pig Association (NPA) condemned the actions depicted in the footage. “The NPA does not tolerate or condone violence or cruelty towards animals in any way; we are clear that the actions of the individuals depicted in the footage are indefensible and should be treated accordingly.
“Such behaviour is abhorrent to all pig farmers and the business involved, which has acted responsibly and immediately by terminating employment of the members of staff following a thorough investigation and is cooperating fully with the authorities.
“The NPA will take the lead in investigating what further measures can be put in place to prevent any similar incidents from occurring on British pig farms.”
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) also lashed out against the incident seen in the footage.
“The conditions seen on these farms are cruel and in many cases illegal,” said Sean Gifford, head of public campaigns at Compassion in World Farming. “These pigs are not being treated as sentient beings, but as mere meat-producing machines.
“Sadly, the appalling conditions revealed in the footage are typical of the many pigs farmed in the EU.”