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INVESTIGATION: The Impact of Italy’s Buffalo Mozzarella Production

October 30, 2019

Animal Equality Italy has released a new investigation that documents the horrors of buffalo mozzarella production in Northern Italy. 

In addition to the exclusive images shot by our investigators, Animal Equality has collected testimonials of people who can, first-hand, report on the conditions of these farms – farms where almost half a million buffaloes are bred every year. Interviewing Italian personalities, such as journalist Giulia Innocenzi and former parliamentarian Paolo Bernini, help paint the picture of neglect on these farms, where numerous parliamentary inspections documented the illegal sewage spills in the Caserta area. The images collected by Animal Equality are coupled with videos from Vier Pfoten International, a German organization for the protection of animals that has conducted several investigations on farms for the production of buffalo mozzarella in Campania.

The up-until-now unpublished footage and pictures collected by Animal Equality investigators leave no room for doubt. The videos clearly show:

  • Animals covered in mud and feces up to their knees
  • Buffaloes covered with flies and forced to live alongside bodies of dead animals
  • A corpse of buffalo clumsily hidden under straw and feces
  • Ill-treatment of buffaloes and degraded sanitary living conditions
  • Baby male buffalos abandoned to die of hunger and thirst after being torn from their mothers

Our investigators were also able to document the crumbling conditions of the farm and non-compliant treatment from a veterinary and hygienic-sanitary standpoint. For example, we found unauthorized workers who, without veterinary supervision and hygienic precautions, administered drugs to the animals.

The production of buffalo mozzarella has a very strong environmental impact on the surrounding area, with cases of disastrous spills of waste directly into nearby waterways. Thanks to the images of former parliamentarian Paolo Bernini, we were able to document illegal spills of sewage in the province of Naples and Caserta. In the video, you can see streams of sewage that end up in the surrounding lands and then into the drinkable water table – slurry obviously untreated.


Matteo Cupi

“We need specialized controls, as well as an increase in the controls themselves, which need to be made more effective and efficient. But above all, it’s essential that people know the truth about the buffalo mozzarella industry. As shown by Animal Equality’s investigation, the industry hides cruelty, violence, and environmental pollution, all in order to produce a product sold across the world as the ‘Excellence of Made in Italy.’ Is this really Italian excellence?

— Matteo Cupi, Executive Director of Animal Equality in Italy

It is up to us to do everything in our power to stop these cruelty. Please encourage people to leave animal products like buffalo mozzarella off their plates. Making the switch is easy.


Italy

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