Tesco has decided that it can no longer accept any pork produce from Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire home to 15,000 pigs. The action is as a result of a sustained investigation and campaign by the Bristol-based campaign group Viva! which has established an unacceptable level of animal cruelty, as reported in the Bristol Post.
Viva! has had the farm in its sights since 2017, and has worked to expose conditions at the farm since then. Some of the video footage that the animal rights group has created from its three visits to the farm is quite disturbing – it includes discarded maggot-ridden piglets, confinement within filthy waste covered pens, as well as dead skulls, being visible within pens. Viva! has by the use of hidden cameras uncovered piglets being kicked and thrown around by farmworkers as well as dead pigs being left to rot in piles of dead carcasses. The stress endured by the pigs has led to them effectively going mad – scenes are shown of the pigs, biting, bullying and attacking each other.
As recently as 16th July the farm was being defended but no longer. In addition, Red Tractor has withdrawn its certification.
These decisions will remain pending further inspections.
Animal Welfare before Profit
Juliet Gellatley, Viva! founder and director celebrated this “huge victory” for the campaigning group and “the thousands of pigs trapped inside Hogwood Farm”. The organisation had taken to Bristol town centre to highlight the plight of the pigs at the farm as it regarded Tesco’s previous assurances relating to welfare standards as being inadequate.
“The animal cruelty that our team witnessed on Hogwood Farm cannot be easily forgotten. Over the past two years, there has been complete inaction by industry bodies, with meaningless assurances that they are working to improve standards” said Gellatley.
“But finally, with this undeniable evidence, animal welfare has come before profit. We couldn’t be more thrilled” she said.
“Since our first investigation, the farm owners have invested thousands of pounds into increasing security at Hogwood. Rather than improve conditions for these poor animals, they invested in making it more difficult for the public to see the truth. Now, the truth is finally out and consumers will no longer unknowingly support Hogwood Horror Farm.
“Although we congratulate Tesco and Red Tractor on finally making the right decision, I can’t help but question why it is routinely left to animal welfare groups like Viva! to expose the abuse taking place on farms.
“Factory farming is an inherently cruel business and we hope that this exposé shows that assurance schemes like Red Tractor cannot be trusted. If you oppose animal cruelty, the best thing you can do is go vegan.”
The owner of the pig farm, Brian Hobhill told the Daily Mirror, when Viva’s exposé first came to light in 2017 that the care of his animals was a top priority. He described Juliet Gellatley who took the photographs as the “leader of an extremist vegan group”.