CRUELTY ON PIGS
An investigator of Essere Animali worked undercover at a farm supplying ‘Prosciutto di Parma’ (premium Parma ham), documenting violence and illegal behaviour.
In just a few weeks, using a hidden camera he filmed pigs being beaten and thrown around their pens, painful surgical operations carried out without anaesthesia and the macabre habit of throwing piglet’s testicles and tails into the feeding troughs of the sows.
Part of this video was broadcast by the Italian investigative journalism programme Report, which has also broadcast footage from other investigations we carried out in pig farms on the protected designation of origin (PDO) circuit. This is not the first time we have documented cruelty to animals and violations of the law, even on farms in the so-called Italian chain of excellence.
A worker closed the anal orifice of a piglet with a safety pin, after manually reinserting the intestine resulting from a rectal prolapse and tearing the infected skin with his hands. All without the administration of painkillers and the presence of a veterinarian.
Although the practice is condemned by the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, the law permits the surgical castration of male piglets. If the animal is less than seven days old, the operation may also be carried out by the farm staff and without anaesthesia. But our undercover worker filmed castrations of two-month-old pigs with no pain relief, either during or after surgery.
After the mutilation of piglets, their tails and testicles are systematically thrown into the feeding troughs of the sows. As a result, the mothers are fed the organic remains of their own children.
I have seen sows beaten, piglets punched in the head because they are trying to escape from the workers and dozens of other violent acts of all kinds, but the greatest suffering has been watching those same sad eyes, behind bars, every day.
Today I still feel the agony of all those little ones who, due to weakness, injuries or other problems for which anyone would take their dog to the vet, were slowly fading away, amid spasms, increasingly cold little bodies and faint calls to a mother who was prevented from helping them.
We have reported this farm to the authorities and will endeavour to ensure that all such cruel behaviour is recognised as the offence of animal abuse.
This is only part of our work. In fact, procedures that cause suffering to pigs but are legal, such as cages for sows and the surgical castration of piglets, are often used on Italian farms. To put an end to these practices, in addition to tail cutting, an illegal mutilation that is nonetheless inflicted on all pigs raised in Italy, we have launched the #SOSpig campaign.
Thanks to our team of investigators, millions of people are discovering the reality of abuse and cruelty in farms and slaughterhouses. Our work saves animals and needs your support.