Yattendon pig farm forced to close following Viva! investigation
A WEST Berkshire pig farm has been forced to close following "barbaric" acts of cruelty uncovered on site.
Workers at Calvesley pig farm in Yattendon were filmed killing piglets by slamming their heads onto a concrete floor.
An undercover investigation by Viva! Campaigns, the UK’s leading vegan campaigning group, revealed other acts of cruelty at the farm last year.
Investigators filmed at Calvesley and Whiteshoot, a fattening and finishing centre in Oxfordshire, both owned by Winterbrook Farm Partners, who supply British supermarkets.
The investigations took place over the course of three weeks in 2020, using hidden cameras to reveal the atrocities taking place inside the farms’ sheds.
Footage taken from Calvesley Farm revealed what Viva! described as "highly disturbing examples of animal cruelty".
Farm workers were filmed thumping young piglets – killing them by slamming their heads onto the concrete floor. Although this is legal, the act was followed by the worker dumping the bodies aside.
Yattendon Estates, the owner of the land the farm occupied, were so shocked at the animal cruelty and pollution caused by the pig farm they served the farm notice and evicted them from the estate.
James Holes, estate manager, has been approached for comment but not replied.
All farms featured in the investigation were approved by the consumer assurance scheme Red Tractor, which claims all of their farmers’ "animals have been well cared for".
Shortly after the investigation was released Red Tractor dropped the farm saying: “We were very disappointed by some of the images in the footage. Protecting animal health and welfare is one of our top priorities. Red Tractor requires all members to meet every standard, every day and take any allegations of breaches seriously. We immediately launched an investigation and as a result the farms’ Red Tractor Certification have been suspended and sanctions put in place to address the issues raised through this process.’’
Carolyne Culver (Green, Ridgeway) whose ward covers Calvesley Farm, said: "I’m glad this case has been resolved. It’s essential that whenever there is evidence of animal cruelty it is dealt with urgently. Concerned residents contacted me when they saw the media coverage, and Yattendon Estates took action."
Calvesley Farm was a breeding unit and home to hundreds of female pigs routinely impregnated and forced to birth countless litters of piglets.
The charity's head of investigations, Lex Rigby, said: “Our team witnessed appalling conditions in this investigation, documenting the systematic abuse of farmed pigs, whose short lives are filled with nothing but misery and pain. Pregnant and nursing sows were confined in cages while their piglets were ruthlessly mutilated with barbaric hot knives and pliers – all for the sake of food."