After an environmental disaster at the world’s largest pig factory in Chile, the government said it would evacuate half a million pigs — but now the factory owner wants to kill them all.
The crisis started when local people in Freirina, in the Atacama region of Northern Chile, protested the foul stench from the factory. The factory owner, Agrosuper, blamed a ventilation breakdown and the failure of “special” micro-organisms to eliminate waste.
The locals’ protest descended into violence and their blockade of the factory led to it being abandoned, the pigs being left to their fate with little food and water. The spokesperson for the demonstrators, Yahir Rojas, blamed government incompetence for “all the violence.” The Chief Executive of Agrosuper, José Guzmán, claimed that:
We didn’t abandon the plant, we evacuated, which is very different.
A Chilean government intervention began last Tuesday, after which followed the order for the plant’s indefinite closure due to concerns over potential risks to the population’s health. Agrosuper was given six months to evacuate the pigs.
Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, said:
This could be an environmental and sanitary catastrophe, we have to get in and take control.
Now Guzmán says that because any transfer of the animals would require additional measures to avoid any health or environmental problems:
The pigs are going to be slaughtered. They are not going to be moved to another farm or plant. This way they will not generate any environmental or health problems.
According to Radio Universidad de Chile, there are plans to move the pigs to a cattle slaughtering plant rather than another Agrosuper plant in the O’Higgins region after locals there objected.
Spokeswoman for the Socio-Environmental Movement in the Huasco Valley, Andrea Tanks, told them that another plan needs to be drawn up to close the slaughter plants because the same problems are present at all Agrosuper factories.
So now encompasses several places in Chile that have the same problem of odors, bad treatment of feces and slurry, misuse of water. It is something very serious and not just local.
Activists have blamed a lack of proper environmental controls and proper operating permits and monitoring by the Chilean government for the disaster.
The radio station also reported that the company has fired about twenty factory workers in Freirina who joined the protests. According to union leaders, Chile employment law means they cannot do anything about this.
Vallenar Mayor Cristian Tapia said that the company is not being truthful about their real capacity to resolve the conflict. Says Compassion in World Farming:
We have already contacted the Chilean authorities to take immediate action to help the pigs. Now we need you to add your voice to ensure all remaining pigs are protected from any further suffering and that their waste is dealt with responsibly. There is no time to lose. For every hour that passes, animals continue to suffer.
Please act now to urge Chilean leaders to listen to our calls for action. We must ensure the welfare of these pigs is treated as a priority and that local residents are securely protected from any pollution.
A Chilean vegetarian group infiltrated the factory to ‘reveal the hell of the 500,000 pigs for human consumption’. Watch (Warning: images may be disturbing):
Photo credit: cerdosesclavos.org
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