VICTORY! Acquitted of charges of defamation by Parma Ham

© Essere Animali


VICTORY! Acquitted of charges of defamation by Parma Ham

Simone Montuschi

In an important ruling, Ravenna court has acquitted us of the charges of defamation for using the title ‘Cruel Ham’ for one of our investigations on a farm belonging to the historical circuit.

We were sued for defamation by the Consortium of Parma Ham for using the title ‘Cruel Ham’ for one of our investigations on a farm belonging to the PDO circuit.

Yesterday the Ravenna Court acquitted two Essere Animali founders. An important ruling which, weighted by the severity of the documented cases, confirms how strong and direct our communication is. The video has finally been made visible.

Watch the investigation

What happened: The investigation

In December 2016 we spread a video investigation which documented the conditions on a pig farm linked to the Parma Ham production chain for the first time.

The images of the investigation, titled ‘Cruel Ham’ and relaunched by various media channels around the world, demonstrated suffering animals in a deteriorative state with injuries presumably due to episodes of cannibalism. A phenomenon which can come forth in pigs forced to live in environments not adapted to satisfy their needs. Even a Forestry department raid confirmed what we had documented.

Graphic images Click to watch
© Essere Animali

The Consortium lawsuit

Following the spread of the investigation, the Consortium of Parma Ham sued Essere Animali for defamation for publishing the video of the investigation titled ‘Cruel Ham’ on their own website and spreading it to the press.

In June 2017 the Postal Police, on a decree issued by the Judge for Preliminary hearings in the General Court of Bologna, obscured the web from the investigation video as a protective measure. Court hearings were held over the years until the acquittal ruling made by the Ravenna court yesterday. The judge will now have the video, which has finally been made visible, released.

Graphic images Click to watch
© Essere Animali

An important ruling

We would like to thank the lawyers Lorenzo Valgimigli and Filippo Plazzi for obtaining this important ruling. From the beginning of the hearing, we argued that our communication could be considered as high impact, but without depicting defamation towards the Consortium.

If we had been condemned for the words ‘Cruel Ham’, we would have experienced the ruling as a severe form of censorship. They attempted to intimidate us by suing us, however with this hearing it shows how our communication weighed to the documented case.

Furthermore, we work with diverse journalists, institutions and agencies to expose cases like those documented in our investigations and reduce the suffering of animals by addressing the crucial issues of factory farms as well as those destined to the production for excellence Made in Italy – promoted and commercialised in all the word.

At best, in the face of shocking images as like those which we often document, we feel the necessity to launch campaigns just as disturbing, however this must be an encouragement for change not a pretext to condemn our informational work.

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