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Spanish pig farm owners face criminal trial for animal cruelty

In 2018, Animal Equality collaborated with a renowned Spanish television program to release an eye-opening investigation into a pig farm. The subsequent public outcry has led to criminal charges, with two owners now facing up to 14 counts of animal cruelty.
January 23, 2024 Updated: May 15, 2024
2024 Spain trial 2024 Spain trial

Update 5/15/24: In a decision issued on May 14, 2024, the Carrasco brothers were acquitted on 14 charges of animal cruelty. 

Despite admitting that the pigs in their care had faced extreme conditions, the judge questioned whether responsibility fell with the Carrasco brothers themselves or the veterinarian attending to the pigs. The judge confirmed that the veterinarian should have been held criminally liable, as Animal Equality had originally requested. 

Protesters gather outside of courtroom

Daniel Amelang, an attorney from the Legal Network, announced Animal Equality’s intention to appeal the verdict: 

…[T]he veterinary experts who analyzed the images concluded that these animals were beyond recovery, and by keeping them alive in these conditions, their suffering was unnecessarily prolonged…[T]his is something that any farmer should have known without needing the services of the veterinarian.

Daniel Amelang, Legal Network attorney

Javier Moreno–co-founder of Animal Equality–remains positive following the verdict. By accepting the evidence captured by Animal Equality and Salvados, the judge validated Animal Equality’s investigations and drew international attention to factory farming cruelty. 

2018 Animal Equality investigation with Salvados

Through this investigation, the whole world witnessed cannibalism, giant hernias, deformities, and wounds so big that animals couldn’t move. This is a huge blow to the global pig farming industry and a wake-up call for global consumers.

Javier Moreno, co-founder of Animal Equality

Update 2/2/24: The legal proceedings against the Carrasco brothers in Spain have come to an end, sparking continued public debate. The pair is accused of 14 counts of animal cruelty.

Carrasco brothers standing trial for animal cruelty on February 2, 2024

Javier Moreno, witness and co-founder of Animal Equality, considers the holding of this trial as a very positive development.

This recording [hearing] represented the biggest scandal related to animals on farms. It is a success in itself that these animal abuses have been brought to trial. Animal cruelty is the norm in the livestock industry.

Animal Equality co-founder, Javier Moreno

The defense contended that the care provided to the pigs was “excellent,” denying any incriminating evidence and attributing the animals’ ailments. 

The farm owners, the Carrasco brothers, deny ownership despite GPS coordinates indicating otherwise. They claim the high mortality rates were due to a contagious viral infection, and they attribute the farm’s dirtiness to misting devices mixing with feces.

The Carrasco brothers’ trial not only highlights animal cruelty but also exposes industry ties, prompting essential discussions on responsible farming. Now, the world anxiously anticipates the final verdict, with the waiting period extending to 2 to 3 weeks.

Update 1/24/24: In a landmark trial in Murcia, Spain, the owners of Hermanos Carrasco pig farm faced fourteen charges of animal cruelty. The trial followed a damning 2018 investigation by Animal Equality and a prominent Spanish television program called Salvados.

An expert, called in by the Prosecutor’s Office, confirmed the prolonged suffering of animals at the farm, where they endured extreme injuries for weeks without medical care. Meanwhile, a veterinary inspector painted a grim picture of the farm, detailing rotting corpses and widespread illness. Finally, a Salvados TV program cameraman revealed containers filled with dead, decaying animals.

Animal Equality co-founder Javier Moreno offered his testimony, asserting this farm was among the worst he had seen.

Protest outside courthouse, led by Animal Equality co-founder Javier Moreno

While the verdict for the trial is ongoing, extensive press coverage and expert testimonies have garnered public backlash and international attention.

A nationwide scandal surrounding a pig farm in Spain will finally go before a jury on January 24, 2024. The Carrasco brothers–owners of the Hermanos Carrasco pig farm in the state of Murcia–will stand trial for 14 charges of animal abuse. 

The criminal trial follows a 2018 investigation by Animal Equality, along with journalist, producer, and director Jordi Évole and acclaimed Spanish television program Salvados. The findings were broadcast to the Spanish public, igniting a debate about the factory farming industry in Spain.

2018 Animal Equality investigation with Salvados

The prosecutor in this case has requested 18 months in prison for the Carrasco brothers, along with a ban on animal possession for four years. Meanwhile, Animal Equality has requested charges for 14 counts of animal abuse, demanding a maximum sentence of three years and a 12-year ban on animal possession. 

2018 Animal Equality investigation with Salvados

Journalists and experts to appear in court

Following the Salvados broadcast in February of 2018, Animal Equality filed a complaint against the farm for animal cruelty. Despite overwhelming evidence, the Court of First Instance closed the case. Animal Equality appealed to the Provincial Court of the State of Murcia, which finally agreed to try the defendants. 

Along with the investigative findings, additional evidence will include testimonies by the Salvados television crew, veterinarians, and technicians from the Department of Livestock, who either viewed and analyzed the images or inspected the farm after the program’s broadcast. Javier Moreno, a co-founder of Animal Equality who was present at the farm, will be present at the trial. 

Injuries and cannibalism revealed on “farm of horrors”

As the documentary evidence shows, many of the pigs on the Hermanos Carrasco farm–otherwise known as the “farm of horrors”–were immobilized by large hernias, tumors, deformities, and abscesses. Veterinary care was not provided. 

2018 Animal Equality investigation with Salvados

Video footage also exposed pigs’ corpses rotting among living pigs, along with scenes of cannibalism among the distressed animals. 

“I have entered many farms and I have never seen anything like this,” acknowledged Salvados host Jordi Évole, following the airing of the footage.

This farm has been one of the worst I have seen in my life. The meat industry treats animals as merchandise, and although this is one of the worst farms we have documented, we cannot forget that factory farming conditions are deplorable altogether. It is urgent that we question the entire factory farming system.

Javier Moreno, co-founder of Animal Equality

Major meat corporation cuts ties with cruelty

At the time of the investigation, the Hermanos Carrasco farm supplied pigs to El Pozo, a major European meat corporation. El Pozo declined to participate in the Salvados special.

Despite accusing Salvados and Animal Equality of misrepresenting evidence, El Pozo later severed ties with the Hermanos Carrasco farm. This move came after Belgian supermarkets removed El Pozo products from their shelves due to public outrage.

During the investigation phase of their criminal cases, the Carrasco brothers denied any commercial relationship with El Pozo.

Calling for an end to animal cruelty

While the findings from Hermanos Carrasco have ignited public outrage, Animal Equality’s investigations have exposed a concerning trend on factory farms around the world. 

Investigators have found piglets beaten with hammers on a “high-welfare” farm in the UK, the body parts of dead piglets scattered around an Italian pig farm, pigs beaten with electrified sticks in Brazil, and conscious pigs being thrown into scalding tanks in Mexico. Meanwhile, pigs in the United States are held in cages so small that they can’t turn around for the majority of their lives. 

To combat this cruelty, Animal Equality has launched a petition against factory farming in the United States. You can lend your voice to animals by signing the petition today. 

You can end this cruelty! Please sign our petition calling for ending factory farming in the United States.

You can also join millions around the world in replacing bacon, pork, and other animal products with plant proteins. To get started on your plant-based journey, join the Love Veg movement and discover simple recipes along the way. 

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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