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Undercover Filming: Horrific Treatment Of Pigs

21 December 2011, at 11:49am

UK - New undercover filming has shown the horrific treatment of pigs on British farms. Many pigs were seen to have their teeth clipped off with metal pliers without anaesthetic and their tails docked with scissors.

TheDailyMail reports that the footage has been captured by researchers with the campaigning organisation Viva, which is calling on the government to implement a UK ban.

Viva describes the scenes of piglets having their back teeth clipped off with metal pliers and the ends of their tails removed with scissors as horrific.

The measures are used by farmers to limit the damage caused by pigs to one another when they battle for food or bite each other out of frustration. Typically, the sharp teeth can cause serious injuries, particularly to the tails and ears.

Viva claims that the pigs become aggressive as a direct result of factory farm conditions, where they are kept behind bars in cramped conditions on concrete floors. However, these practices are not confined to intensive pig farms and are also often used on pigs that are bred or reared outside.

The Government’s own advisory body on farm animal welfare, FAWC, the Farmed Animal Welfare Council, highlighted the distress caused by the mutilation in a study published in March. The clipping of teeth and docking of tails is not illegal, however, in theory, it should not be carried out as routine and standard practice on pig farms.

Despite this, the FAWC report said: "Most of the nine million piglets born in the UK each year experience some form of mutilation."

It added: "The industry estimates that at least 80 per cent of UK piglets are tail-docked."

The FAWC chairman, Professor Christopher Wathes, said: "Mutilations involve handling stress, acute pain and the possibility of chronic pain."

The filming took place on a Somerset pig farm at the end of October and the beginning of November. However, exactly the same practices are common on pig farms across the UK.

Viva campaigner, Tom Lane, said: "Consumers are constantly told that we have the best farmed animal welfare in the world, yet the only way to keep Britain’s factory farms in production and supermarket shelves stocked is to mutilate piglets."

"I’m sure most people would be horrified to hear that most of the nine million pigs born in the UK suffer some kind of mutilation. It’s even more shocking that much of it is carried out without anaesthetic because the piglets are less than seven days old."

To watch the Video please click here.

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