We’ve seen similar footage before. This time the appalling scenes of animal abuse come from two farms that raise pigs for a company certified by Red Tractor and by the RSPCA (Freedom Food label). The labels assure consumers the animals were treated humanely.
The video footage below was released by Animal Equality, an activist group whose undercover investigation of two “pig units” set off a furor involving Red Tractor, the RSPCA, and the East Anglian Pig Company (who own the Little Thorns Weaner Unit and the Didlington Piggery investigated by the activists).
After the month-long undercover operation, Animal Equality spent another three months sifting through the evidence before making it public. As soon as it was notified, the RSPCA visited the Little Thorns Weaner Unit and has been following up. They withdrew their Freedom Food designation from Little Thorns (Didlington was not certified) but according to Animal Equality are not planning to prosecute.
The RSPCA criticized Animal Equality for not providing them with the footage before going to the media and for taking four months to make it public.
This concerns us greatly. It is vital that if anybody or any organisation has concerns about animal welfare that they inform us immediately, otherwise they could potentially be allowing continued suffering.
Red Tractor was equally incensed and published this statement:
It is entirely inappropriate that we should learn about welfare concerns months after the alleged events took place. If anyone has any concerns they should always inform an appropriate authority immediately. Failure to do so has the potential to be a serious breach of animal welfare.
The Red Tractor scheme does not tolerate any animal mistreatment. Any contravention of our standards can result in the immediate suspension from the Red Tractor scheme.
Red Tractor Assurance has already reviewed its systems since a similar incident two months ago.
The East Anglian Pig Company’s Web site is “Under construction” so carries no official position. However, the newspaper EDP24 reported the staff involved in the abuse are facing disciplinary action. The company condemned the abuse and said, “The RSPCA has confirmed that there are no grounds for prosection.”
Photos of Little Thorns provided by Animal Equality; third photo from Thinkstock
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