Pigs injured and immersed in sewage: farm supplier of PDO ham reported
Our latest investigation into a pig farm destined for the production of PDO ham in the Lodi area shows very serious mistreatment, cruelty, and sanitation problems.
Watch the investigation
During a first visit into the pig farm located in the municipality of Sant’Angelo, our investigators documented a critical situation, primarily due to the accumulation of hundreds of piglet carcasses which had been disposed of illegally. In light of this situation, the investigators decided to place a hidden camera inside one of the company’s warehouses.
What we have documented
Images recorded by investigators during their first visit show animals with wounds and injuries, and dozens of buckets containing the corpses of piglets abandoned in front of cages and outside the farm. Inside the farrowing cages there were dead and dying piglets, some with their legs or other body parts wedged into the structure and flooring. At a structural and health level, the breeding was heavily neglected, without environmental enrichments and with various parts dangerous and in ruins. This could explain both the presence of injured animals and the high mortality of piglets. The hygiene failures are also very obvious: animals forced to live in their manure, and the widespread presence of rats. Many pigs had their tails mutilated, which is illegal if carried out systematically.
The videos taken by the hidden camera show further problems, some of which are illegal, and in this case mainly involve farm staff: a worker who kills two piglets by banging them violently against the wall; some staff members who brutally handle some piglets, inadequately grabbing them by the paws and throwing them into the pens; and a worker laying the testicles of a newly neutered piglets in the sow’s manger.
Our report and the authorities check
After our inspections, we sent a report to Cremona NAS (Commodities and Health Unit of the Italian police), while a subsequent check by ATS (Health Protection Agency) in Milan confirmed various urgent issues relating to animal welfare, such as the presence of 20 pigs with lameness and “serious” injuries, and 20 with “minor” injuries which, instead of being hospitalized in an area used as an infirmary, were left in the enclosures together with the other animals.
The authorities have issued prescriptions, such as the mandate to move sick animals, improve sewage disposal, install environmental enrichments, replace damaged parts of structures capable of injuring animals, and change some unsuitable flooring. With regard to the violent behavior of the operators, we filed a complaint with the Lodi Public Prosecutor’s Office against the legal representative and the workers involved for the crimes of killing animals (544 bis of the criminal code) and mistreatment of animals (544 ter of the criminal code).
This system must change
The situation that our investigators found in the Sant’Angelo Lodigiano pig farm is by no means an exception in the intensive farming system.
As such, we ask the Italian Parliament and Government to intervene urgently to change the current system of controls on farms, because it is clear that there are many offenses that escape official inspections. Furthermore, we think it is essential to start a path that facilitates the abandonment of intensive production methods towards more sustainable systems.