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Investigation exposes intentional animal cruelty at German pig farm

An undercover investigation reveals deliberate animal cruelty at one of Germany's largest pig farms. Advocates claim it’s among the worst suffering they’ve seen.
July 10, 2024 Updated: July 17, 2024
Germany Pig Investigation German Pig Investigation
  • Animal Equality’s most extensive investigation to date found rampant and intentional animal abuse at one of Germany’s largest pig farms. 
  • Many of Animal Equality’s findings were violations of European Union Law. 
  • These findings, which were broadcasted on Germany’s leading television news channel, reached millions of viewers. 
  • Animal Equality has filed a complaint with the appropriate authorities.

An undercover investigator with Animal Equality spent four months inside one of Germany’s largest pig farms. Inside the facility, which houses around 25,000 pigs, the investigator documented routine violence and neglect. At 120 days, this is Animal Equality’s longest undercover investigation.

The footage aired live on Germany’s leading national television channel—Das Erste—during a program called Kontraste. In Germany, the press coverage is ongoing. 

Disturbing findings

The investigation reveals several instances of cruelty, some of which violate European Union law:

  • A worker twists and breaks the necks of piglets with his bare hands, a practice banned in Germany.
  • Another worker throws a piglet head first into the concrete floor, killing them.
  • An injured pig is chased and unsuccessfully stunned with a captive bolt gun. The bolt becomes lodged in the animal’s skull, and the worker then knocks the pig to the ground with a wooden beam and slits their throat.
  • A worker standing with his boot on a piglet’s neck, cutting their throat without effective prior stunning.
  • One piglet, cut at the so-called ‘killing table,’ is later found under a pile of dead bodies, still breathing.
  • A worker pushes a piglet to the floor as punishment for not moving, then sits on the piglet and punches them several times in the face.
  • Workers are seen painting a squirming piglet’s body for amusement.

Alarmingly, older piglets are castrated by a veterinarian who hangs them from a ladder and makes an abdominal incision. Some pigs were not properly disinfected before the incision was made. One piglet showed signs of pain, despite attempts to sedate them.

Piglet in a factory farm

SAVE ANIMALS FROM ABUSE

Pigs, cows, and other animals feel pain and deserve to be protected from abuse.

You can protect these intelligent animals by simply choosing plant‑based alternatives.

This is clearly brutal mistreatment and torture of the animals. This behavior can in no way be explained by misconduct due to ignorance or excessive demands, but is a deliberate, repeated and brutal cruelty to animals.

Dr. Claudia Preuß-Ueberschär and Dr. Jochen Weins, Veterinarians for Responsible Agriculture

Other routine findings include the confinement of mother pigs inside ‘farrowing crates.’ Shortly before giving birth, mother pigs are housed inside these tiny cages for five weeks until their piglets are weaned. The small space allows no room to turn around or lie down comfortably. The animals suffer from severe, untreated injuries from rubbing against the bars.

Additional evidence shows the amputation of piglets’ tails at just a few days old, presumably violating European Union regulations. Animals were routinely kicked, beaten, chased through stalls, or thrown around the facility by employees. 

Germany Pig Investigation

Legal action and global response

Animal Equality has handed over the extensive evidence to the proper authorities. Criminal charges have been filed against the pig farming company and individual employees. 

Our undercover investigation proves once again that these conditions are not exceptional situations or isolated cases. Our footage clearly shows that the abuse, neglect and illegal killings are an integral part of the system.

Vanessa Raith, Director of Animal Equality in Germany

Taking action for pigs

Despite the concerning footage–which has received over 24 million total views and 5 million video views in Germany alone–Animal Equality notes that similar cruelty has been found on factory farms in Spain, Italy, and Mexico. Not only does this signify rampant cruelty, but it also requires a global response. 

As Germans demand better treatment for pigs and other animals, Animal Equality has launched a petition to end factory farming in the United States. By signing the petition, you can signal to the US government that animal cruelty is unacceptable, regardless of where it takes place.

Meanwhile, replacing meat, eggs, and dairy with compassionate, sustainable proteins is the most effective way to stop cruelty to pigs and other farmed animals. For those unsure where to start, Love Veg has prepared a plant-based cookbook with delicious, animal-free recipes. Get your copy today!

Spain Pig Farm

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