A major Spanish sausage producer has come under fire following an investigation showing extremely squalid conditions on a pig farm which supplied it with meat.
Leading international animal protection organisation Animal Equality collaborated with Spanish investigative TV programme Salvados to take undercover footage at the facility.
Footage shows deformed, diseased and dying animals, and has been described by Animal Equality as 'some of the worst ever captured on a European farm'.
Investigators claim the farm continues to supply international sausage brand El Pozo, whose products are stocked by a number of UK retailers including Morrisons and Amazon - a claim Morrisons denies.
The investigation was broadcast on national Spanish television on Sunday night.
Viewers saw pigs with infected abscesses and giant hernias, severe deformities, ulcers covered with flies and larvae, as well as animals living in pens with corpses in an advanced state of putrefaction.
The footage also showed containers overflowing with dead animals and larvae, and animals unable to stand being trampled and cannibalised by other pigs, who had been without food for several days.
Tiny piglets were shown slowly dying - without veterinary attention.
Video footage shows extreme suffering
Dr Toni Shephard, Animal Equality UK’s Executive Director, says: "These are some of the most sickening scenes of animal suffering I have ever seen.
"Those poor pigs would have been in sheer agony for weeks on end. This level of negligence and cruelty on any farm, let alone one in the EU, is an absolute scandal.
"This farm supplies Spanish meat giant El Pozo whose sausages are sold by UK retailers."
She added: "We are calling on them to remove all El Pozo products from their shelves and websites immediately and replace them with any of the many plant-based alternatives."
Animal Equality has submitted its evidence to the Spanish authorities and is demanding that those responsible for this extreme cruelty are prosecuted and jailed.
A statement released by El Pozo about conditions on the farm claimed the ill animals were 'under observation'.
It said: "The animals that appear in the images of the report would never enter the production chain of ElPozo Alimentación.
"The controls stipulated by Spanish legislation and by the company itself make this possibility unfeasible.
"The recorded images correspond to a sanitary recovery area, that is, they are animals that have some type of malformation or birth disease, which must be monitored to control their evolution and improvement and, if it does not occur, carry out their sacrifice sanitary.
"This is established by the ethical and deontological code of Spanish livestock.
"Periodic veterinary reviews determine which animals should be slaughtered sanitarily."
Morrisons has said El Pozo stated it had stopped taking deliveries from the farm last year.
A Morrisons spokesperson told PBN: "The welfare of animals is extremely important to us.
"The images in this video are deeply distressing and we are concerned to see the condition of these pigs.
"El Pozo have been clear that they stopped taking any animals from this farm last year."
You can sign Animal Equality's petition calling on UK retailers to drop all El Pozo products & replace with plant-based alternatives here
Maria is a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer. Her writing has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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