Hogwood Pig Farm pig

Source: Viva

Cameras installed at the Warwickshire farm showed pigs squealing as they were hit by workers

Tesco and Red Tractor have suspended a pig farm after undercover footage appeared to show “distressing and unacceptable” animal abuse taking place.

As initially reported in The Mail on Sunday (18 August), cameras installed by vegan campaign group Viva at Hogwood Pig Farm in Warwickshire showed pigs squealing as workers hit them with metal rods and slammed gates into them.

Red Tractor said Hogwood’s certification “has already been suspended pending further investigation”, while Tesco said it had asked its supply partner Cranswick to “stop all supply” from the farm in the wake of the revelations.

“These are distressing and unacceptable scenes which fall well below the high animal welfare standards we require from all of our suppliers,” the retailer added.

The footage shows practices which directly contravene Defra’s Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock as well as Red Tractor’s Pigs Standards document, which says “livestock must be handled in a way that avoids injury and minimises stress”.

Cranswick confirmed it did not own or operate the farm. However, a spokesman confirmed it had been supplied with pigs from the farm alongside other abattoirs.

“Hogwood Farm has been subject to numerous audits and visits over the last 18 months from their own veterinary practice, Red Tractor auditors and APHA veterinary officers, along with Cranswick’s own staff,” he said. “None of these inspections have raised any serious concerns pertaining to the welfare of the animals or the conditions in which they are housed.”

He added: “Cranswick recognises that pig health and welfare is of the utmost importance and therefore, having seen the indefensible footage, we have taken the decision to permanently cease accepting any future deliveries from Hogwood Farm.”

Viva, which said it has investigated Hogwood three times since 2017, described the farm’s suspension as a “huge victory”.

“The animal cruelty that our team witnessed on Hogwood Farm cannot be easily forgotten,” said Viva founder Juliet Gellatley.

“Over the past two years, there has been complete inaction by industry bodies, with meaningless assurances that they are working to improve standards. But finally, with this undeniable evidence, animal welfare has come before profit.

“Although we congratulate Tesco and Red Tractor on finally making the right decision, I can’t help but question why it is routinely left to animal welfare groups like Viva to expose the abuse taking place on farms.” 

On its previous visits to the farm, Viva said it had encountered cannibalism, pigs smeared in filth and rotting carcases dumped in a wheelbarrow.