Undercover
investigations

Our brave investigators show the world what happens to animals in farms and slaughterhouses.

The investigations carried out by our team have made millions of people aware of the conditions of animals raised for food. Thanks to continuous inspections and the undercover work of our activists, we report illegal acts and document the terrible suffering endured by animals.

Cruelty on a farm
supplying the Beretta brand

By means of an undercover investigation, we revealed terrible violence on a pig farm supplying Beretta cured meats.

Watch our latest investigation

Investigations released in 2020

Cruelty on a farm supplying the Beretta brand

Italy, september 2020

One of our investigators documented acts of terrible violence inflicted on pigs in an intensive farm that supplies the Fratelli Beretta brand. Animals are kicked, hit with blunt objects, grabbed by the ears, lifted off the ground or thrown off a tractor. A worker pulls out the teeth of a pig with a pincer without the use of anesthesia. Read more.

Brutal fishing with gaff hooks

Italy, august 2020

One of our undercover investigators filmed the typical “pesca con l’arpione”, a fishing technique used to capture swordfish in the Strait of Messina, between Sicily and Calabria. This technique is extremely painful for the swordfish because it involves ripping off its skin with a knife in order to remove the harpoon (in Italian arpione) from its flesh. This process is performed while the swordfish is still alive. Read more.

The cruel treatment of chickens

Italy, june 2020

One of Essere Animali’s investigators worked undercover on several farms supplying the AIA brand. These images document the entire chicken breeding cycle for the first time and show a life full of suffering and violence. Read more.

Violence against lambs

Italy, april 2020

Our investigators used hidden cameras to document lamb production in Sardinia, the region with the highest number of sheep raised in Italy. They inspected twenty farms in all provinces, filming practices that are banned because they cause animal suffering as well as shock confessions from farmers who admit to killing lambs in times of low demand for their meat, as it does not make economic sense to raise them. Serious irregularities were also found in a large slaughterhouse, despite the presence of veterinarians. Read more.

Imprisoned in the open sea, inside fish farms in Greece

Italy, january 2020

Overcrowded cages, widespread diseases and cruel slaughter methods. This is what we documented during an investigation on fish farms in Greece, where more than half of the sea bream and sea bass sold in Italy come from. Deprived of their freedom, exposed to stressors and subjected to cruel practices, fish are kept in critical conditions on intensive fish farms. Read more.

ALL OUR INVESTIGATIONS

Inside farms and slaughterhouses

Italy, december 2019

Over 60 facilities, including farms and slaughterhouses, were monitored in the past year. Footage was recorded at night, during the day or undercover, to film the conditions of the animals. This is the reality, harsh and unfiltered, documented by our investigation team during the daily checks that were carried out, even with journalists in tow. Read more.

Shocking footage of "cage-free" egg farms

Italy, october 2019

One of our investigators worked undercover at several farms owned by a large company in Emilia Romagna and, using a hidden camera, filmed brutal animal abuse and evidence of ongoing food fraud. The farm, which we have reported to the authorities, supplies well-known brands of eggs that are commonly found in Italian supermarkets. Read more.

Caged and abused hens

Italy, october 2019

We filmed workers treating animals with violence and documented the most widespread type of farming in our country. More than half of the eggs produced in Italy come from caged hens that spend their whole lives without even being able to spread their wings. Read more.

The hidden side of sheep milk cheese

Italy, july 2019

An Essere Animali investigator worked undercover at Italy’s largest intensive sheep farm for milk production. Here, 5000 animals are locked in concrete sheds without ever having access to pasture. They are brutally treated and subjected to continuous pregnancies, births and milking, a cycle that weakens them and condemns them to the slaughterhouse at a very young age. The same fate applies to male lambs, killed at just 30 days old for their flesh. Read more.

Chickens violently loaded for slaughter

Italy, june 2019

Thanks to one of our undercover investigators, we were able to document one of the grey areas of chicken meat production. On International, the documented footage shows the brutal way in which chickens are loaded for transport to the slaughterhouse. Read more.

Cruelty to pigs on a farm supplying "premium" Parma ham

Italy, may 2019

An investigator from Essere Animali worked undercover on a farm supplying “Prosciutto di Parma” (premium Parma ham), documenting violence and numerous incidences of 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. Read more.

Life of macaques in a university lab

Italy, april 2019

Marta, Charlie and other macaques are locked in the cages of an enclosure at a major Italian university. Their sad lives were documented using hidden cameras. They live for years in small, bare metal cages. They have electrodes inserted into their skull or temple, required for the neuroscience experiments to which they are subjected. Read more.

Pigs caged and mutilated on Italian factory farms

Italy, april 2019

In Italy, 9 million pigs have their tails mutilated and males are castrated without anesthesia or pain relief. During pregnancy and birth, 500,000 sows are kept in cages so small that they cannot move at all. Such practices cause extreme suffering to these intelligent and sensitive animals and, in the case of tail-cutting, are also illegal. However, the problem is so widespread and structural that it is found on almost all farms (including PDO). By means of the #SosPig campaign, we urgently want to bring these cruel practices to an end. Sign the petition.

Milk machines: abuse and violent treatment of calves and cows

Italy, december 2018

An undercover investigation by Essere Animali, narrated by Tullio Solenghi, has revealed the appalling conditions for cows and calves on some intensive dairy farms. The images come from the hidden cameras of two of Essere Animali’s undercover investigators who worked on farms in northern Italy. Read more.

Intensive fish farms: first investigation in Europe

Italy, october 2018

We documented intensive fish farms for the first time in Europe. This is where most of the fish consumed by Italians come from. Using hidden cameras, we discovered farms similar to meat farms, with millions of fish caged, handled and transported as if they were objects. Fish suffer in silence and urgent intervention is required. Find out how to help them.

Pigs hammered to death, a devastating investigation

Italy, september 2018

One of Essere Animali’s investigators who worked undercover at a farm that supplies pigs for ‘Prosciutto di Parma’ (premium Parma ham) documented numerous incidences of violence and continuous violations of animal protection standards. Read more (italian)

The unsustainable production of eggs on chicken farms

Italy, june 2018

A new investigation by Essere Animali reveals the conditions of hens raised in Italy for egg production. The footage comes from investigation work carried out on various (ten) factory farms located in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, regions that alone account for almost half the national production. We filmed the conditions on caged and ‘free-range’ farms in which over 34 million hens are imprisoned, 92% of those raised in Italy. The animals are locked in sheds without being able to access outdoor areas or see the sunlight. Read more (italian).

The terrible slaughter of lambs for Easter

Italy, march 2018

Essere Animali’s hidden cameras filmed month-old babies being forcibly unloaded from trucks, bleating in fear as they watch their fellows die. This is not the first time we have documented such heartbreaking scenes, as every year around Easter thousands of lambs suffer the same fate. But things are changing: the consumption of this particular meat is falling dramatically and the number of lambs slaughtered has almost halved over the past ten years. Read more (italian)

Nightmare for chicks: a shocking investigation into a chicken hatchery

Italy, january 2018

These terrible images document the first day of life of chicks destined to be raised as ‘broilers’. One of Essere Animali’s undercover investigators spent several months working in the hatchery of one of the largest Italian companies and filmed the treatment of these fragile animals for the first time: denied maternal care, treated like objects and ground up alive if sick or injured. A brutal system that is required only to satisfy current consumption levels, for which over 500 million chickens are born and then killed every year. Read more (italian).

Chicken meat: low cost, high suffering

Italy, october 2017

In this new investigation, we documented mistreatment on intensive chicken farms supplying major Italian brands. Using hidden cameras, our investigation team also filmed repeated incidences of abuse by the workers, kicking animals and brutally throwing them into cages when loading them for transport to the slaughterhouse, which occurs when the animals are only 40 days old. Read more (italian)

High-cruelty ham

Italy, july 2017

Between February and June 2017, Essere Animali documented eight farms supplying pigs for Prosciutto di Parma (premium Parma ham): the images show animals in a state of serious suffering and situations of mistreatment that we promptly reported. It is not the first time that we have filmed such conditions. In December 2016, our video ‘Prosciutto Crudele’ (Cruel Ham), filmed inside a farm supplying the Consortium, sent shock waves through the country. Read more (italian)

For lambs, this is Easter

Italy, april 2017

We infiltrated various small and medium-sized slaughterhouses to film the slaughter of lambs. Our images were broadcast in prime time on Tg1 in a report by Roberta Badaloni and once again showed millions of Italians the terrible reality of slaughter. Read more (italian).

Inside Italian mink farms

Italiy, february 2017

We spent many months working to bring the reality of mink farms in Italy to light once again. Four years after the release of our first investigation, we found the same conditions of suffering, brought together in this video, narrated by Rosita Celentano and first published by  Corriere della Sera . Read more (italian)

The cruelty behind Parma ham, a shocking investigation

Italy, december 2016

Essere Animali’s investigation team spent 6 months constantly monitoring the condition of pigs on a large factory farm that supplies Parma ham. These images show that a terrible reality of suffering can even lie behind a brand considered part of the Made in Italy ‘chain of excellence’. Faced with these images, it is important to understand that our choices are fundamental if we are to help these animals. Read more (italian)

Octopus fishing, a violent tradition

Italy, july 2016

For the first time, we documented traditional octopus fishing: a widespread practice in all Italian seas and a cause of suffering for millions of intelligent animals. By means of this investigation, we wish to introduce people to these incredible animals and stimulate reflection on the practice of fishing. Millions of octopuses are cruelly slaughtered, both by industrial fishing and small-scale fishing. Read more (italian)

"Access denied", the harsh reality of factory farms

Italy, april 2016

The footage was filmed by Essere Animali’s investigation team between June and December 2015, on various intensive farms raising pigs, hens, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and cows located in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, the regions with the highest number of farmed animals in Italy. The video, first published by Corriere della Sera, was filmed behind the doors through which access is forbidden to reveal the conditions in which more than 600 million animals are kept every year in Italy. The footage was published a few days after the release of an important report that we produced in collaboration with Roberta Badaloni’s programme “Sono solo Animali?”, broadcast in a Tg1 special on Sunday 10 April and seen by over 1 million people. Read more (italian)

Foie Gras, pure cruelty

France, october 2015

We went to France, the leading producer of foie gras, the fatty liver obtained from the killing of ducks and geese that are subjected to forced feeding, banned in Italy and condemned by the EU but allowed in some countries because it is recognised as a “common practice”. Sign the petition

Behind the walls of a lamb slaughterhouse

Italy, march 2015

This video, released a few days before Easter, documents the killing of lambs in an Italian slaughterhouse. We filmed baby animals watching helplessly as their fellow beings are killed in front of them, stunned and have their throats slit in full view. The rough behaviour of the workers, who grab the lambs by the legs and move them around abruptly, causes further serious suffering. . Read more (italian)

Fur coats are born in gas chambers

Italy, february 2015

Once again using hidden cameras and stakeouts, we documented what happens on mink farms in Italy. After Dying for fur, we released this new video to show the public where fur coats are born.

The hidden side of horsemeat

Italy - Poland, september 2014

Italy is the largest consumer of horsemeat in Europe. For this reason, Essere Animali decided to document and report the trafficking of these animals and the physical and psychological suffering to which they are subjected. Tens of thousands of horses are imported every year by means of interminable journeys from farms and markets in Poland, France and Spain. On arrival, a terrible death in the slaughterhouses awaits them, where they witness in terror the slaughter of those who precede them. A violence that we documented with unique images and was seen for the first time by millions of people. Read more (italian).

Safari Ravenna, animals in captivity for business

Italy, june 2013

This project, curated by Essere Animali and supported by the declarations of ethologists, biologists and psychologists of undisputed competence, was carried out in the spring of 2013 in the zoo inaugurated about a year previously in the vicinity of the Mirabilandia amusement park. The birth of this safari and zoo, in which more than 450 wild and exotic animals are currently confined, was preceded by years of battles by numerous animal-rights associations that tried to prevent it. Today, however, a visit to Safari Ravenna shows the entire commercial side of this structure: animals on display among rows of cars, completely immersed in a context that is certainly not suited to them and condemned, for a monotonous eternity with no stimuli, to that meaningless life reserved for them in zoos. Read more (italian).

Dying for fur, an investigation into mink farms

Italy, february 2013

We spent over 18 months documenting the conditions of mink farms in Italy, with the aim of making these unknown and hidden places visible to anyone. We entered the farms uninvited, day and night, installed hidden cameras and obtained unprecedented images also through the work of an undercover activist. For the first time in Italy, we documented the tragic moment of the killing by means of gas chambers and the early stages of the processing of the corpses. The result is a video that reconstructs the entire life cycle of the minks, from birth to death, with nothing but imprisonment and suffering in between. This video was released to launch a campaign for the abolition of fur farms. Read more (italian).

Meat factories, a journey to hell on various pig farms

Italy, june 2012

Between 2011 and 2012, we spent 9 months collecting information and video and photographic images of pig farms in Italy. We entered more than 50 farms, during the day and night, to witness the situation in which 13 million pigs are forced to live all over the country. A journey into hell that brought us into direct contact with the victims of this system of slavery and their pleading eyes, begging for freedom and lost in indifference.

Egg factories, hens on factory farms

Italy, march 2012

Starting at the end of December 2011 and for the next two months, we focused on 27 farms located in the provinces of Bologna, Cesena, Ferrara, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini, with the aim of bringing to light current images of all types of intensive farming practised in Emilia Romagna.
 We entered these farms and filmed and photographed the conditions of the animals, obtaining more than 15 hours of video recordings and over 1000 photos. Bearing in mind the fact that there are about 200 factory farms in Emilia Romagna, we can say that we have visited more than 10% of the structures in this sector. This footage, the photographs and the information that we disclose are intended to show the conditions under which so-called ‘laying hens’ are reared.

Help us uncover the hidden truth

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.

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