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Animal Equality has carried out a ground-breaking two-month undercover investigation on a ‘Quality Assured’ (Red Tractor) farm in Norfolk - Harling Farm, belonging to A. J. Edwards & Son. Harling Farm is typical of a farm in Britain where pigs spend most of their life indoors.

Over 200 hours of footage and recorded conversations, and 335 photos provide a shocking insight into the British pig industry and demonstrate that regardless of whether a farm is labelled as ‘Quality Assured’ there exists pain, suffering and exploitation on a huge scale.More information>

FOR INMIDIATE RELEASE - 12 February 2012


Pigs are beaten to death on British Farm – Exposed!


This morning, the Sunday Times released the findings of a ground-breaking new undercover investigation that has been launched in response to a glossy PR campaign by the British pig industry[1]. This intensive two-month investigation has been undertaken by international animal rights organisation, Animal Equality, on a ‘Quality Assured’ Red Tractor pig farm in Norfolk.


The findings of this unique investigation, which has the support of leading animal behaviourists, authors and veterinarians marks the beginning of an intensive campaign by Animal Equality to reveal the true face of animal farming in Britain, and provides a stark contrast to the pig industry’s celebrity-endorsed ‘Love Pork’ marketing campaign.


The shocking revelations of the investigation have been submitted to the relevant authorities.


The vast majority of British pig farms fall within the Red Tractor scheme and more than 90 per cent of pig flesh is produced under the auspices of Farm Assurance schemes[2]. Yet the Animal Equality investigation shows that regardless of whether a farm is labelled as ‘Quality Assured’ there exists pain, suffering and exploitation on a huge scale.


An Animal Equality investigator worked in Harling Farm (A.J. Edwards & Son), a Red Tractor farm in Norfolk and documented for 72 days, to obtain over 200 hours of footage and recorded conversations, and 335 photographs. Animal Equality observed:


  • Pigs being slapped, kicked and beaten into submission with the use of pig boards, pipes, iron bars and gate rods; and workers scraping a knife across the backs of pigs to force them to move
  • A worker repeatedly beating a female pig about the face and body with a two-foot pipe.

The sustained beatings resulted in pigs with facial and other bodily abrasions

  • The burying of dead bodies in an illegal shallow and uncovered pit to save the farm money
  • Piglets being left for dead or dying in pens, and in pig feed
  • Pigs being killed with handles and gate rods. Some were thrown into the ‘dead-bin’ whilst still alive – their bodies writhed and struggled amongst the bodies of dead pigs
  • Lacerations that were large and deep enough to require suturing being lanced by farmers and left untreated
  • Pigs suffering tumours, some with ulceration. Many malnourished pigs had large abdominal hernias
  • Piglets’ limbs being crushed by their mothers, who were confined in metal farrowing crates, scarcely able to step forwards or backwards, and completely unable or turn around
  • The routine clipping of piglets’ teeth between 24 and 48 hours after birth.   
  • Pigs being killed by blunt force trauma - swinging the animals so hard that their heads slammed against the concrete floor, and by trauma to their skulls
  • Rectal and vaginal prolapses being left to rot and drop off
  • Pigs having difficulty walking with shoulder sores and injured or infected joints and hind-end paralysis
  • Pigs unable to stand being artificially inseminated



This unique, intensive undercover investigation reveals the life of pigs who are reared for their flesh in Britain.

Leading experts have reviewed and supported the findings, such as leading veterinarian, Andrew Knight, bestselling author,Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Marc Bekoff, philosopher, Dr. Richard Ryder, sociologist, Professor John Sorenson, ethologists, Marc Bekoff and Jonathan Balcombe, and distinguished writer and poet, Benjamin Zephaniah.

Andrew Knight, Veterinarian and Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics says: “Pigs are highly intelligent, social animals, with deep-seated needs to forage, explore their environments, and engage in normal social interactions with other pigs. Prolonged denial of these needs results in chronic stress. Repetitive bar-biting behaviour was evident in some of these pigs.

Workers were repeatedly seen hitting, kicking and verbally abusing pigs. Their attacks with metal pipes were seen to cause injury and, in some cases, death. In one case the snout of a pig was clearly bloodied after being struck many times by a metal pipe.

The sows were confined within farrowing crates so small the sows often appeared unable to turn around, or, indeed, to move much at all. New-born piglets were observed struggling to breathe, and dying.

A range of seriously ill and injured pigs were seen, including pigs with open wounds, large ulcerated tumours, severe rectal prolapses, pigs with possible fractures and severe difficulty or inability to walk." Andrew Knight. BSc. (Vet. Biol.), BVMS, CertAW, PhD, MRCVS, DipECAWBM-AWSEL, FOCAE

Animal Equality works to raise public awareness of the suffering and death of non-human animals in our society and calls for the abolition of animal use. Animals are sentient beings able to feel emotions and sensations such as pain, pleasure or stress and like us they are individuals with their own needs and an interest in living. Most people believe that animals should not be harmed unnecessarily, but the consumption of animal products forces animals into a life of misery and an untimely death. Without the public demand for animal products, billions of sentient beings would be able to live their life, as they have the right to do so, without misery and exploitation.

Animal Equality urges consumers to stop funding animal exploitation by adopting a vegan lifestyle.

Below the links to a selection of HD footage and images from the investigation, along with a report highlighting the investigation findings and the opinion of experts.



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There is often an attempt to turn the sympathy around to the farmer.  It happened here when a slaughter facility was shut down just outside of Melbourne.  What was the response of the owner?  He said he was shocked that his license was suspended, but nothing was said about the employees who were doing these things.  They will often feign ignorance of what's been going on, a defence that is clearly improbable.  During the outrage that ensued after the expose of what happened to animals exported live from Australia to Indonesia, the media quickly turned the focus on the loss of income of exporters.  Personally I have no sympathy for anyone who would earn their living killing animals, let alone send an animal to certain torture and abuse.

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