European pork producers implicated in animal cruelty allegations

NEW YORK — Compassion in World Farming has published the results of its investigation into the treatment of sows on European farms. The animal rights group said its representatives had observed 16 different European farms located in Italy, Spain, France and Poland, and alleged in its report that sows were being mistreated and that many farm practices were banned in California and Massachusetts.

The report’s allegations include:

  • Sows spend nearly half of their adult lives in cages that restrict their movement to getting up or lying down.
  • Sows lying in unsanitary stalls.
  • Sows with restricted access to their young due to limited housing space.
  • Sows displaying abnormal behaviors such as bar biting and chewing.

Along with the report, Compassion in World Farming released video footage from 14 of the 16 farms visited.

Erika Voogd, president of Voogd Consulting Inc., which specializes in animal welfare for livestock and poultry, food safety, sanitation, and USDA regulations for meat plants, commented on the footage.

“Individual crates were originally developed to prevent sow aggression and also give them the opportunity to eat freely without competition from other sows,” she said. “If we want to stick with a gestation or farrowing stall, they could be made larger to accommodate the sow and provide room to turn around.”

Compassion in World Farming did not identify the facilities or companies by name, but said the Parma and Bayonne hams sold in the United States come from some of the farms surveyed.

“Americans who pay a premium for Parma and Bayonne hams will likely be shocked to find that these ‘premium’ products come from systems that keep animals in such cruel cage conditions that have been banned in some US states. “said Ben Williamson. , US executive director of Compassion in World Farming.

Based on the findings of its investigation, Compassion in World Farming sent information in the report to EU agriculture ministers in an effort to expedite the European Commission’s 2023 ban filed under the End campaign. the Cage Age.

“Many organizations have pledged to reduce or eliminate ‘cages’ for pigs; however, conversions are expensive and take time and education to implement,” Voogd said. “In the meantime, ensuring that the system in place is managed and meets hygiene and welfare standards will help ensure that the shortcomings noted in this report do not occur.”

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