Compassion has recently undertaken an investigation into five pig farms in Ireland. The findings were worse than we could have imagined. Compassion's Investigation Unit identified multiple levels of cruelty, neglect and systematic non-compliance.
A member of the Investigation Unit says:
"Never have I seen pigs so dirty, covered in their own excrement and pens so filthy. Some pens were covered in faeces and the pigs had nowhere to escape from it.
"On a separate farm, pigs resorted to biting dead pigs and using them as play-things, as they had nothing else to occupy them."
Not only is this a horrific animal welfare issue, but it also brings to light obvious questions regarding food safety. All the farms visited suffered from fly infestations, with some of the pigs suffering with open wounds. One pig had a prolapsed anus, which he rested in a feed trough. Many of the pigs were in pain and living in barren and often insanitary conditions.
Dil Peeling, Compassion's Director of Campaigns, says: "These are the worst pig farms that we have seen in Europe, and the worst conditions that I have seen in years. I am shocked to find pigs kept in this squalor in a modern, first-world country.
"In some of the farms there was a 'hospital area' which would be laughable if it weren't so devastating: an emaciated pig left to die, dying pigs lying on top of one another. It is a real-life hell-hole.
"The levels of neglect on all of the farms points to a systemic failure and the barbarity of this situation points to two options: either the government doesn't care or they are incompetent. Either of these is inexcusable".