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Madrid protesters display tools used by farmers to mutilate pigs

Over 150 protesters recently took a stand against cruelty in Spain’s pig farming industry with a demonstration in Madrid. Display cases revealed industry instruments commonly used to mutilate piglets.
October 4, 2023 Updated: February 22, 2024
Protest in Spain September 2023 Protest in Spain September 2023

On Saturday, September 23, more than 150 volunteers joined Animal Equality in Madrid for a protest against Spain’s pig farming industry displaying electric prods, tail-cutting instruments, castration forceps, and tooth-cutting pliers routinely used by farmers to mutilate pigs.

The volunteers also showed images from Animal Equality’s recent investigation into pig farms depicting the procedures and educating the public about these practices. 

Pigs’ tails are often cut without anesthesia when they are just a few days old. Investigation footage has shown these young animals screaming from the pain. Since these mutilations are often performed by inexperienced workers, piglets often suffer from infections, inflammation, and painful neuromas on the tips of their tails. 

These metal clamps are used to open or dilate rubber rings, which are placed around pigs’ scrotums. The rubber rings cut off blood flow to their scrotums, causing tissue death and eventual detachment. This practice is commonly inflicted on piglets between birth and three months old. 

It is urgent that the protection of farm animals is on the political agenda. We cannot allow the economic interest of the factory farming industry to cause suffering for animals while silently destroying the planet.

Javier Moreno
Co-founder and Director of Communication at Animal Equality

Hundreds of passersby paused to view the instruments and speak with the protesters, all of whom resolutely demanded an end to factory farm cruelty across the country.

Pigs are routinely mutilated in factory farms

Animal Equality has conducted worldwide investigations into the pig farming industry since 2006, documenting the suffering of animals in factory farms. Due to disease, injury, and mutilations, more than twenty percent of pigs die on factory farms before ever reaching the slaughterhouse. 

Animal Equality released an investigation inside five pig farms across the nation. Inside, they found pigs with injured limbs and eyes, wounds oozing with pus, and prolapsed rectums and uteruses. Dead pigs lay scattered across the farm, their distressed companions nibbling at the bodies as rats scurried by. 

Starving pig in Spain Pig Investigation

While there are laws to protect pigs in Spain, oversight and accountability before the law is severely lacking. Due to a critical shortage of inspectors, farms can operate for approximately 60 years at a time without government scrutiny. Farm workers are given advance notice of 48 to 72 hours when they are finally inspected. 

But Spain is not alone in this crisis. Oversight of American farms by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been deemed grossly inadequate by multiple animal protection groups, including Animal Equality. 

Animal Equality joined a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) shortly after it announced its plans to further reduce government oversight in pig slaughterhouses. Since then, Animal Equality has continued to oppose the deregulation of an industry that stands to profit from animal abuse. 

How we can help animals

In a world increasingly aware of factory farming corruption, a growing number of people are replacing pig meat products with plant-based proteins. Embracing plant-based eating not only saves lives, but it prevents animals from suffering before death. 

As consumer choices evolve, what we put on our plates sends a clear message to the animal agriculture industry: the world is watching, and the status quo is no longer acceptable. 

Piglet in a factory farm


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.

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