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INVESTIGATION: Mistreatment on Italy’s Pig Farms Revealed

February 17, 2021

In collaboration with Italian television, Animal Equality has released a new investigation that reveals the cruel reality for pigs bred for meat in Northern Italy—a region that markets its products with the stamp of the “excellence of Made in Italy.”  

THE DETAILS: In September 2020, Animal Equality and Italian journalist Roberta Spinelli visited a pig farm in Brescia, Italy, and documented terrible abuse and suffering—images in stark contrast from the idyllic picture of contented animals on green pastures often painted by the region’s producers. The investigative team found:

  • Pigs abandoned and left to die in corridors
  • Bodies of dead pigs amongst the living
  • Workers dragging pigs by their legs with ropes 
  • Animals with cysts and sores, unable to walk because of their open wounds
  • Animals crammed together and forced to live in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions 
  • Pigs covered with feces and urine 
  • Cockroach, rat, and worm infestations 
  • Sewage not properly disposed of in a ditch adjacent to the farm and fields 

WHAT WE’RE SAYING: “Thanks to this investigation, the horrors of Brescia’s pig farms are clearly revealed. We can no longer turn our heads from the suffering to which these sentient beings are forced to endure—mistreatment that happens behind the closed doors of these polluting farms which are often beneficiaries of public funds. We need more checks and balances for these places, and we need them now,” says Alice Trombetta, Executive Director of Animal Equality Italy.

BACKGROUND: In Italy, there are more than 8 million pigs that are raised every year on industrial farms, 4 million of which are in Lombardy alone. Of these, almost 1.5 million are raised in the province of Brescia—an area also affected by pollution and sewage spills related to the massive presence of intensive farming. 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: Based on our findings, a formal complaint against the owners of the farm was delivered to the Prosecutor’s Office of Brescia. In addition, a petition was launched in Italy addressed to the Presidency of the Council and the Minister of Health asking for more frequent and more effective controls to be carried out—unannounced—in order to ensure compliance with the country’s rules on hygiene and animal welfare. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: The reality is that animals are not afforded adequate protection in our food system and the abuse we filmed in Italy is unfortunately commonplace on pig farms all across the world, including in the US. Aggressive marketing campaigns by producers try to trick consumers into believing that the animals in their supply chains are happy and cared for but as our investigations have proved time and time again, nothing could be further from the truth. If these conditions concern you, the best way you can help is to leave animals off your plate and share our investigations with your family and friends. We can make a difference, together. We just need more people to learn about what really happens within animal agriculture. 

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