A blue truck backs up against a massive trench carved into the Russian countryside. The trailer begins to rise and pigs tumble out, plunging on top of each other like sacks of spuds into the mass grave. Old tyres and piles of wood are interspersed with hundreds of dead pigs; only they are not all dead. A pig writhes from side to side; another wanders bemused amongst the bodies and the waiting pyre. The eerie hush is broken by a guttural groan and the familiar squeal of a pig.
Some of the many pigs dumped here have survived this far, but not for much longer. A casually dressed man descends the steep slope at the trench’s end and sets the wood pile alight. Thick black smoke starts to billow, flames dance and quickly engulf the dusty pit and its occupants.
This nightmare scenario has emerged in recent media reportage and highly disturbing YouTube footage, following a reported outbreak of African Swine Fever in backyard pigs in the Rostov, Voronezh and Volgograd regions. The reports suggest measures to deal with an outbreak of African Swine Fever in Russia are being handled far from humanely. It is suggested by the media that police have been dispatched to prevent further filming of the situation.
Immediately on discovering these horrific images, my team set to work urging the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the official body with international responsibility for animal welfare, to take action. We want them to contact the Russian authorities to find out what has been going on and put a swift end to any such appalling treatment.
As the leading international farm animal welfare charity, Compassion in World Farming pledges to take fast and firm action to stop tragedies like this from being repeated. Please help us by writing polite emails to the Russian Ambassador in your country. For details on how and what to write please see our ‘Take Action’ alert.
As ever, thank you so much for your support.