New pig farm footage causes stink

New undercover videos showing pigs in squalid and cramped conditions in Finnish farms have raised the issue of cruelty and negligence again in the meat industry.

The footage, which was shot secretly by animal rights activists, shows the pigs living in filthy pens alongside dead carcasses.

Similar films were last released in 2009 but, since then, the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira) tightened controls and increased inspections. Partly due to the stricter checks, a third of farms inspected in 2010 were found to be violating animal rights laws.

Martin Ylikännö, chair of the Pig Producers’ Association, condemned the 16 farms in the documentary but also reprimanded the activists for their undercover tactics.

“It’s regrettable that intrusions like this have happened,” Ylikännö told YLE. “But on the other hand, I’m angry with those in the industry. It’s clearly negligent if carcasses are left in the pens for a long time.”

Managing director of an animal disease prevention association, Pirjo Kortesniemi, called on abattoirs to reject meat from farms that are suspected of mistreating animals.

“No producer wants a situation where, when he produces nine good and ten beautiful pigs, somebody else does things carelessly,” said Kortesniemi. “Of course, everyone wants a crackdown on these kinds of things, and to eliminate them from the industry.”

The same Rights for Animals campaigners were only acquitted last week from cases brought against them by pig farmers after the 2009 footage was made public.

Karry Hedberg from the organisation remains defiant, telling YLE, “We would like to make clear that this kind of documentary will definitely continue to be made.”