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?
This farm supplied Morrisons supermarket and was Red Tractor approved. After we exposed these cages both scrambled to remove them, saying they didn’t know they were being used. So much for stringent welfare checks, eh?
The cages were seemingly so insecure that some piglets had fallen onto the concrete floor. Piglets were seen on the floor on both visits.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. 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.
What we found at Poplar Farm shocked us, but we’ve seen many British pig farms over the last 20 years and we’ve seen suffering on all of them.