When: Friday 18 Jan
- 12.00: Red Tractor Assurance Head Office, Europoint Centre, 5-11 Lavington Street, London SE1 0NZ
- 13.30 – 16.00: Tesco Express, 1-4 Charing Cross Rd, Westminster, London SW1A 2DR
On Friday 18 January animal welfare charity Viva! is holding a peaceful demonstration outside the headquarters of the “food standards scheme” Red Tractor. The event follows a shocking two-year investigation of Hogwood Farm – a pig farm with appalling welfare conditions approved by Red Tractor.
Earlier this month, Viva! Campaigns’ investigation of Hogwood Farm was featured in an episode of Channel 4 Dispatches. The undercover investigation of Hogwood Farm shows horrific scenes of animal suffering; extreme overcrowding, filthy barren sheds, sick and dying animals dumped in gangways with no access to food or water and – most disturbingly – one pig being eaten alive.
Viva! Campaigns reported the farm to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency, Trading Standards, RSPCA, Red Tractor and one of their biggest buyers Tesco. Despite Viva! supplying sufficient evidence showing clear animal welfare breaches, Hogwood continues to supply Tesco and carry the Red Tractor seal of approval.
Now, Viva! is holding a peaceful demonstration outside Red Tractor’s Headquarters and then moving onto a Tesco Express store in Trafalgar Square. The campaigners will broadcast never before seen footage from Hogwood Farm from their massive video van and engage in conversations with the public alongside their eye-catching red tractor – raising awareness of the cruelty approved by the food assurance scheme.
Red Tractor, the UK’s biggest assured food standards scheme, has repeatedly hit the headlines for approving low standards of animal welfare. Red Tractor claims to be a “world leading farm and food assurance scheme” which promises consumers “peace of mind” about animal welfare. Yet multiple reports and exposés have questioned the effectiveness of the scheme.
Last year, it was reported in The Times that only 1 in 1000 Red Tractor inspections are unannounced – potentially giving farmers the opportunity to hide welfare breaches. In addition to the exposé of Hogwood Farm, workers at Rosebury Farm were filmed swinging live piglets against a wall and illegally using electric prods on pigs. Other investigations include shocking animal abuse at Fir Tree Farm and instances of live cannibalism at Grove Smith Turkeys. Even some farmers have doubted the credibility of Red Tractor.
In response to these reports, Red Tractor has invested £1.5 million into marketing and claims to have increased unannounced inspections. However, these inspections will only take place after concerns are flagged on pre-arranged inspections. Routine pre-arranged inspections take place once every 12 – 18 months.
Viva! Founder and Director Juliet Gellatley said:
“Red Tractor is nothing more than a clever marketing tactic employed by the animal agriculture industry. They require little more than the UK and EU legal minimums and still allow cruel practices such as tail docking, teeth clipping and farrowing crates. These assurance schemes are designed to mislead consumers about the realities of intensive factory farming and clearly care more about profit than animal welfare.
Consumers are led to believe that the UK has the highest animal welfare standards in the world and yet time and time again, our undercover investigations have revealed the shocking reality of Red Tractor approved farms. We have witnessed an appalling lack of enrichment, filthy barren sheds and animals simply dumped and left to rot in gangways. The routine suffering of pigs on an industrial scale in Britain is unacceptable, and should not be approved by anyone.
Sadly, many of the conditions we show in our investigations are legal and this is the heart-breaking reality of intensive factory farming. Consumers have the right to know where their pig meat is coming from and this is the best way to have our voices heard. We are joining forces with vegan campaigner Cath Kendall to show Tesco and Red Tractor that we haven’t forgotten about the barbaric conditions on Hogwood Farm.”
More information about Hogwood Farm can be found here: viva.org.uk/hogwood
For interviews or quotes please contact Roisin McAuley on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 944 1000 or 07804 830994.