Can you trust the tractor?

Not if our latest investigation is anything to go by …

Viva! investigators have filmed at a farm that boast of Red Tractor accreditation and produces 20,000 pigs a year for supermarkets, such as Morrisons, and local businesses as East Riding Country Pork. What our cameras found will shock you. Watch the footage for yourself and ask: can I trust the tractor?

What we found behind the doors of Poplar Pig Farm, nr Hull:

Piglets in barren wire ‘battery cages’ stacked three deep. The only so-called ‘environmental enrichment’ was a metal chain hanging in a metal cage. Piglets are playful, intelligent and curious. Battery cages were banned for hens in the UK in 2012 (although so called enriched cages are hardly better). What’s the difference?

The cages were seemingly so insecure that some piglets had fallen onto the concrete floor. Piglets were seen on the floor on both visits.

Poplar Pigs

We saw desperate sows, covered in flies, confined to metal cages in the insemination room. To keep the shelves of British supermarkets stocked sows are forcibly impregnated again and again.

Poplar Pigs

The farm claims “24 hour maternity care” for mother and piglets, but what that really means is confining nursing sows to metal ‘farrowing crates’. 70 per cent of British sows are trapped in these around twice a year for up to five weeks at a time. These mothers are unable to fully nurse their piglets and can’t even turn around. Most of the time they couldn’t even reach their dead and dying piglets. Incredibly, these torture devices are still legal in this country.

Appeal: We go undercover to expose shocking cruelty at Morrisons supplier

Piglets are fun loving and highly intelligent but in this place they had nothing to do but watch our investigators with sad, curious eyes. A dangling metal chain was their only ‘environmental enrichment’.

A piglet abandoned under the cagesIt is almost impossible to describe my emotions when I look into the eyes of little creatures whose life so far has been nothing but abuse. And when I look at their mothers and see desperation staring back at me, I know that nothing is going to change without us. All they will ever know is pain, frustration and incomprehension. This is mass animal cruelty with a seal of approval on it.

Poplar Farm near Hull, where we filmed these cages, is not a ‘bad apple’ but a large mainstream operation and is probably not breaking the law. What’s more, they have been inspected and approved by the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Scheme – a cynical device for marketing suffering!

Twice we went onto this farm and twice filmed young animals that had fallen from these decrepit cages onto the hard concrete floor. One sheltered beneath the cages, shivering uncontrollably and close to death. Ripped from his mother at a few weeks old, he would die alone.

We filmed shocking scenes at a pig supplier to MorrisonsEventually, these battery piglets would be moved to ‘grower’ pens where the conditions were little better – barren, faeces-strewn hovels. Some stared at us as if to say: “What have we done to be here?”

After all these years, farrowing crates still shock us. Mothering sows are locked in metal crates so small they can’t even turn around for five weeks at a time. To save their piglets’ lives, says the industry, yet dead and dying piglets littered the crates.

We watched one sow at Poplar Farm fighting pitifully to get to her dying baby but the bars prevented her. The mental anguish of a mother unable to comfort her young is unimaginable.

These sows are returned regularly to the impregnation sheds – a conveyor belt of forced pregnancies. We saw 20 or more, again trapped in tiny metal crates, unable to escape the swarm of flies that enveloped them. Fear and depression were clear in their eyes while deafening, tinny pop music blared out as they waited.

Poplar Farm supplies its own business, East Riding Country Pork, who supply Morrisons supermarkets and farmers’ markets. It boasts of ‘high animal welfare’ and ‘24 hour maternity care’ and, believe it or not, were runners up at the 2014 National Pig Awards.

The awful scenes we filmed here are commonplace across Britain. As I write this, I have just returned from a farm that was even worse. However, our exposés are working – people are changing their diet and pig meat consumption is falling. And that it is why we have to keep going, exposing what really happens behind the closed doors of these hell holes. Viva!’s campaigns and your support are a winning combination.

Celebrities support our campaign!And that’s why your continuing help is vital. We have more shocking exposés to release over the next couple of months but we can’t relax – for the sake of the animals we have to keep showing the worst excess of British animal farming. We need you to join this campaign and help our push to end factory farming.

These new images really haunt us as we know they will you but they are the impetus that drives us on – together.

We have to fund more investigations and buy the latest equipment to satisfy media demands and reach the millions of people who can accelerate the changes that are happening. We are working around the clock to place media stories and have exciting plans for social media – but unfortunately it all costs money and we have no one to turn to but you.

If these images disgust you then please, please support us with a donation. No matter how small or large, it will be wisely spent. Also, please join us in a major door-dropping campaign to show people that, no, you can’t trust the Tractor. Order your new leaflets from us today. Please do it for the piglets.

Together we are stronger. Together we can end suffering.

Yours for the animals

Juliet signature

Juliet Gellatley, Founder and Director

Morrisons: Dump caged piglet supplier now!

Piglets

Despite now being fully aware of Viva!’s investigation into caged piglets at one of their suppliers, Morrisons and Red Tractor have merely asked for changes at the farm and have said they will continue using them. Neither has answered the question: why, if your standards are so strict, did you allow this to happen in the first place? Tell them a ‘slapped wrist’ is simply not good enough.

Email: david.potts-ceo@morrisonsplc.co.uk

Below is a suggested email, but even better please personalise it.

“Dear Mr Potts

I was horrified by the scenes of piglets crammed into cages at a supplier of yours and ask that you dump them immediately.

Piglets in barren wire ‘battery cages’ stacked three deep. The only so-called ‘environmental enrichment’ was a metal chain hanging in a metal cage. Piglets are playful, intelligent and curious. Battery cages were banned for hens in the UK in 2012 (although so called enriched cages are hardly better). What’s the difference?

The cages were seemingly so insecure that some piglets had fallen onto the concrete floor. Piglets were seen on the floor on both visits.

I was shocked to hear that these piglet cages are probably not illegal. However, I am also shocked that Morrisons and Red Tractor sanctioned this farm and are pledging to continue using it. Were you aware of the cages? If not why did your inspections not raise alarms?

Simply asking Poplar Farm to change its accommodation for piglets is not good enough. Please dump them as a supplier.

Yours faithfully

[Your name and address]”

 

Thank you for contacting Morrisons. However, if this investigation upsets you can do something else about it now. The best way to free pigs – and all farmed animals – from suffering is to simply stop eating animal products. The best way to do that is to go vegan.

Choose Vegan

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