‘Flat House farm is one of the very worst pig farms I’ve investigated in Viva!’s 26 years,’ says animal protection agency founder.
This week, vegan charity Viva! Campaigns released horrific footage of its four-month undercover investigation of Leicestershire based Flat House Farm—one of the largest hog farms in the UK.
The farm is home to over 8,000 pigs and 800 breeding sows and carries the Red Tractor logo, which means the meat from the farm is ‘traceable, safe to eat and has been produced responsibly’.
The shocking footage includes gruesome images and shots of starving, malnourished pigs writhing in agony with their eyes rolling, others eating dying and rotting carcasses and farm workers brutally killing piglets.
The eye-opening graphic catalogue of neglect at the pig farm is so horrendous that it has sparked a huge outcry and has received national and international coverage.
The ‘appalling’ and ‘barbaric’ footage has also prompted Red Tractor to suspend the farm’s certification and RSPCA, who after inspecting the premises following the exposé notified the APHA and Trading Standards.
A Red Tractor spokesperson told the Canary: “We are appalled by the images in the footage. Protecting animal health and welfare is one of our top priorities.
“Red Tractor requires all members to meet every standard, every day and take any breaches of these standards seriously.
“Last month we immediately launched an investigation and the farm’s membership of the scheme has since been terminated.”
Viva’s team planted covert cameras to film some of the farm’s handling practices.
The investigators revealed they “discovered animals had a range of serious ailments causing acute pain – including bleeding hernias, prolapses, deformed trotters, rectal strictures and pot bellies.
“Other animals were covered in lacerations and grotesque bites, injuries inflicted on them by other pigs who are driven to insanity by the barren environment.
In addition, the team noted “vice lesions such as flank, tail and ear biting to be widespread on the farm and did not appear to be effectively managed.
“Pigs left suffering with acute malnutrition and severe enteritis were experiencing long-term health conditions that take time to develop – indicating that they had not received adequate veterinary care, causing unnecessary suffering for the animals.”
‘One of the very worst pig farms’
The team also captured images of dead animals strewn on the premises rotting and being eaten by surviving pigs and the entire place infested with parasites and other scavengers feasting on the sick or dying piglets.
“Fly infestations were found throughout the farm, leaving feeding troughs covered in maggots,” Viva said.
“The entire site is dilapidated, unsanitary and covered in filth.
“On factory farms like Flat House, animals are crammed together in appalling conditions, allowing for infections to spread and mutate with ease.”
The conditions were so revolting that Viva! founder Juliet Gellatley said: “Flat House farm is one of the very worst pig farms I’ve investigated in Viva!’s 26 years”.
In a statement, following the release of the investigation, she said: “I witnessed suffering that I truly believe almost everyone in Britain would be disturbed and upset by. It is appalling that this farm was Red Tractor approved and trusted to supply the nation’s food.
“This investigation reiterates the fact that supermarket welfare claims and regulatory bodies such as Red Tractor are nothing but a façade for the horrendous, brutal and cruel reality of intensive factory farming in this country.”
‘End factory farming and choose vegan’
“What our investigators found at Flat House Farm are typical of what is permitted by government and retailers. I think British consumers will be disgusted to see the conditions on this farm,” she continued.
“Not only do factory farms raise serious welfare concerns, they also create an ideal environment for mutating viruses and antibiotic-resistant superbugs. In fact, most governments thought the next pandemic would be caused by an avian influenza (bird flu) virus emerging from poultry or pigs.
“Our relationship with animals can no longer be just focused on exploitation, the way meat is produced is now considered to be a global threat. It’s not just a case of banning wet markets, although that can’t come soon enough. We need to end factory farming before it ends us and are calling on consumers to choose vegan.”
‘Animals on farms are suffering’
Conservative MP for Crawley Henry Smith told the Daily Mail the footage “contains some of the most disturbing images I have ever seen”.
“It is clear the animals on this farm are suffering,” he said.
“If this is the Red Tractor standard, then consumers are being misled. We cannot allow farms like this to operate in the UK.”
Flat House Farm bosses said the video has been falsified by the organization because the “RSPCA were happy with their spot check and that there was no case to answer upon completion of their inspection.”
However, a Viva! spokesperson said: “This response is simply an attempt to detract from the horrific conditions exposed.
“The sheer volume of neglect is clearly evident in our extensive video footage and enough to substantiate our claims.
“The owners of Flat House Farm need to be held accountable for the suffering they have caused to the animals in their care.”
- Read: ‘Distressing’ footage reveals ‘severe animal suffering’ on chicken farms supplying Tesco, Ocado and others
Share this story to let others know of Viva! campaigns eye-opening footage of animal abuse in factory farming.
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