Our footage of various pig farms on national TV

Maria Mancuso
Web content editor

Last night, during the episode of the in-depth programme Filorosso on Rai 3, the footage filmed by our investigative team on various factory farms in the Po Valley were broadcast.

In the August 23 episode aired on prime time (and available on RaiPlay), hosts Giorgio Zanchini and Roberta Rei discussed factory farming, meat consumption, animal welfare and environmental impact. The following were present as guests: Mario Tozzi, science populariser and journalist, Ettore Prandini, president of Coldiretti and Sara Segantini, activist with Fridays for Future.

The films, made together with Animal Equality during a campaign for the #BugieInEtichetta (#LiesOnTheLabel) campaign, show problems that we have documented extensively in our investigations and that are often the norm on factory farms. Sows injured and in gestation cages too small for them to move, dead or dying piglets, piles of corpses of dead piglets during or after birth.

During the action, we collected photos and testimonies from a factory farm that could be considered one of the places that practised ‘animal welfare’.
© Essere Animali

As we often report, factory farms are places where it is not possible to guarantee animals a decent life. Here they are forced to live imprisoned in sheds, in cages or in limited and overcrowded spaces, without ever seeing the sunlight or touching the grass. Moreover, this system is not environmentally sustainable. As Federica Ferrario, head of agriculture at Greenpeace Italia, recalls when she was interviewed in the programme, in the 1960s Italy consumed around 21 kg of meat per capita per year. Now it is four times as much: 79 kg. In order to comply with the Paris Agreements, this figure needs to fall to 16 kg by 2050.

An ethical problem too

As Mario Tozzi explains, this is accompanied by an ethical dilemma, i.e. raising living beings in order to eat them. “This will be a memory of the past,” he says, “we will remember it as a strange time, like in a famous film where around a table instead of anonymous alcoholics we have those who consumed cheese or steak and wonder why they had been reduced to that condition.” What is needed, he explains, is a cultural change.

A similar position is supported by Sara Segantini, an activist at Fridays for Future, who says that rather than a loss or a price to pay, changing our habits is an opportunity to make this world a better, fairer and more equitable place. Starting from a cut in meat consumption, certainly, but also rethinking the entire production model.

«Animal agriculture will be a memory of the past»
Mario Tozzi, journalist and science communicator

The role of the EU and Italy

Although this change must certainly involve consumers, it must start from the institutions. From the European Union, for example, which with its Farm to Fork strategy and the European Green Deal would have the power to make the European food system more sustainable, promoting plant-based nutrition much more actively.

And in Italy? On 5 August, we presented the manifesto “Animals vote too”, a programme for the 2022 parliamentary elections addressed to the parties, Prime Ministerial candidates and parliamentary candidates that is based on the principle of the protection and preservation of animals. One of our demands, in view of the parliamentary elections of 25 September, is to support the European ban on the use of cages in livestock farming and to promote plant-based food choices. A country that is fairer to animals is a country that is fairer to everyone.