Search icon


News Icon 03/10/2013

I don’t know what I’m most shocked by: this ghastly film showing pigs kept in this deplorable way, or the absolute indifference of most European Member States and many pig veterinarians.

Joanna Lumley OBE speaking out at a press conference we held at the European Parliament in Brussels in September. Those in attendance included MEPs and key stakeholders such as those in the industry and other NGOs. Joining Joanna on the panel to highlight the plight of Europe’s pigs were Dan Jørgensen MEP and Peter Stevenson, Compassion’s Chief Policy Advisor.

Our investigations exposed widespread breaches of EU law in place to protect pigs. Such as in our Irish investigation.

‘The scandal is that the EU Pigs Directive is a law that is completely flouted,’ Joanna said. ‘Pigs need straw to root around in and mustn’t have their tails docked. What has happened to that law? Laws must be enforced – otherwise there’s no point in parliament, there’s no point in democracy.’

We are proud that Joanna is our Patron. She is a tireless advocate for Compassion and has been for more than 20 years. She has been ‘imprisoned’ in a human-sized battery cage in London, driven a protest tractor to the National Farmers Union, taken a piglet to Parliament, led meetings with ministers, spoken up for Compassion on radio and TV, and added her own infectious energy and compassion to scores of our events, from marches to fundraising dinners to press conferences.

Our investigator was also shocked when he went around Europe documenting pig farms in breach of the directive. I asked him to put into his own words what he saw.

Some pens were flooded with pig waste and in the darkness of the sheds it was hard to make out these animals as pigs – so blackened was their colour. Placards showing the EU flag hanging proudly at the front of the farm, highlighted this farm had received financial support from the Union; I felt sick knowing taxpayers money was pouring into this farm, when just a few yards away pigs were living so appallingly. Our visits to 45 factory pig farms in 6 EU countries has shown the suffering is indeed routine for hundreds of thousands of animals. I will not forget them.

Compassion has done an amazing job in achieving real changes for millions of farm animals.

But our accomplishments for farmed animals would not be possible without you. Working together proves we can make a difference.

The EU Pigs Directive is a significant achievement. But now it’s law, we must apply pressure to get it enforced. This is why I must ask you today to take action now.  Thank you!


You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).