Victory: we closed down the horror farm!

maiali maltrattati
© Essere Animali


Victory: we closed down the horror farm!

Simone Montuschi

We are pleased to report the closure of the pig farm where in 2018 our undercover investigator used a hidden camera to film terrible violence inflicted by workers on animals, including the killing of a sick sow with hammer blows.

«This is great news, it demonstrates that investigations, campaigns and activism lead to concrete results for animals!» Simone Montuschi, CEO of Essere Animali.

Ever since the release of this harrowing video, which was also broadcast in prime time on Tg1 and published by national newspapers and news agencies, our aim has been to close the farm.

Today we can be certain that these sheds, where even piglets of just a few days old were beaten, are finally empty. The farm is not currently assigned any of the business codes required to pursue the activity of breeding any species of animals regarded as livestock.

We all worked together to maintain a high level of attention on this case that shook Italy, sharing the video, signing the petition and participating in the demonstration.

The closure of the farm

Although the decision to close was made by the owner of the farm, given the facts, we can say that this decision was made following the publication of the investigation in which we revealed the violence and the subsequent campaign to close the farm. In fact, from the documents recently received by the Department of Prevention, Hygiene Service for Livestock Breeding and Production of the healthcare department Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale of the Marche region, it appears that the farm closed after sending to the slaughterhouse the last pigs that were already there when the terrible footage was released.

maiale maltrattato in allevamento intensivo
Our investigator documented scenes of pure violence, including a worker lifting a pig by the ears.
© Essere Animali

Our investigation into the horror farm

In addition to the killing of the sow, who died after 30 minutes of agony following numerous hammer blows to the head, the video shot by our undercover investigator – hired as a worker at a farm located in Senigallia (AN) and supplier of ‘premium’ Parma ham – documents unprecedented violence against animals.

The images show the use of the electric taser on sick pigs who were unable to move, the cruel handling of pigs while they were being moved – with smaller piglets literally being thrown and adults hit on the snout with iron bars – and the presence of hundreds of bodies, left outdoors and piled together in buckets, in breach of health regulations. The scene which shows some of the farm workers (those who did not participate in the violence) protesting against the treatment inflicted on the animals was both eloquent and dramatic.

The campaign to close the farm

The investigation achieved widespread coverage in the media and the images quickly went viral. In the following days there were two parliamentary questions (Brambilla 4-01560; Frassinetti 4-01482) and one regional question (Giancarli n.691), and the then Minister of Health Giulia Grillo also condemned the violence filmed by our investigator. In the days that followed, we organised a major demonstration in the square in Senigallia and launched a petition to ask the relevant institutions to immediately revoke the farm’s permits, a petition that has now been signed by over 280,000 people.

Following the charges, the Carabinieri Forestali responsible for the territory carried out a blitz on the farm, seizing the sledgehammer used to kill the sow, several tasers used in breach of the current legislation, the iron pipes used to beat the animals and the instruments used for the castration of pigs, an operation that was carried out by unauthorised personnel and outside the periods allowed by law.

«With regard to the criminal proceedings, the statutory deadline for the conclusion of the preliminary investigations has expired. We therefore expect updates from the Public Prosecutor’s Office soon, naturally bearing in mind the fact that the activities of the judicial authorities have been slowed down by the health emergency. We will strive to ensure that this serious ill-treatment, repeatedly inflicted, is recognised and that justice is done for the animals» Alessandro Ricciuti, Head of Essere Animali Legal Team.

Those who know us, those who follow Essere Animali, know very well that this is only part of our work. We do not only wish to stop the ill-treatment, but above all to confront society, institutions, companies and citizens with the possibility of starting to build a world in which animals are also granted the right to live free, without being exploited and killed.
In the meantime, we have achieved a major victory. The horror farm has been closed, the sheds are empty and no more animals will be subjected to violence, shouting and fear.

In the meantime, we have achieved a major victory. The horror farm has been closed, the sheds are empty and no more animals will be subjected to violence, shouting and fear.

This is not the first farm that we have been able to close following the release of an investigation, a fundamental tool for shedding light on the cruelty inflicted on animals on farms.

We would like to thank all the activists who signed the petition. And most of all, a big thank you to our undercover investigator who carried out a risky and emotionally challenging task with rare professionalism and to all our supporters, without whom it would not have been possible to achieve this important goal.

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