These shocking videos show pigs being kept in appalling conditions and even being beaten to death by workers on a farm that provides meat to a company that prides itself on being “respectful of animal well-being”.
Newsflash obtained the harrowing footage from Igualdad Animal, an international organisation dedicated to ending cruelty towards farm animals, which presented an investigation into the French piggery carried out by the local animal rights organisation L214.
The farm in the comune of Ortillon in the department of Aube in the French region of Grand Est supplies meat to the Herta brand, which is jointly owned by the Spanish company Casa Tarradellas and Nestle.
The brand prides itself on being “respectful of animal well-being”. However, the investigation carried out in August and September this year has apparently revealed a number of shocking and illegal practices being carried out on the farm.
Footage from the investigation shows animals living on a concrete floor covered in excrement, sows locked in cages so narrow they cannot even turn around, sick pigs and animals in evident pain not receiving care, pigs with hernias the size of footballs, piglets being mutilated without anaesthesia, and animals being beaten to death.
Though Herta specifically labels its products from the French farm as free from antibiotics, the investigation found a high use of antibiotics on the premises, including colistin, whose use in animal rearing is said to contribute to antibiotic resistance.
L214 had conducted a prior investigation into another farm in the department of Allier in the region of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes that also supplied meat to Herta in December last year.
Following the investigation, the animal rights organisation filed an animal abuse complaint against the brand for misleading consumers, and the trial will take place in January next year.
This prior investigation led to the British supermarket chain Waitrose removing Herta’s pork products from its shelves.
Igualdad Animal has identified several breaches of both French and EU law in the footage taken on the farm.
L214 spokeswoman Johanne Mielcarek said: “For the second time, L214 reveals the other side of the coin of the farms that work for Herta and their high-quality production. The conclusion is clear: we are facing a huge misleading of consumers. Far from committing to improving farming practices, Herta turns a blind eye to numerous infractions that exacerbate the pigs’ suffering. We have filed a complaint for Herta to shoulder its responsibilities and commit itself once and for all to put an end to these intensive farming practices.”
According to Igualdad Animal cofounder Javier Moreno, 95 percent of pigs in France and Spain are raised on intensive farms.