Tesco suspends Red Tractor pig farm over extreme abuse footage

Tesco has suspended one of its Red Tractor farm suppliers after facing a backlash from campaigners after animal protection organisation Animal Equality filmed cases of alleged extreme and “abysmal” animal abuse.

The supermarket confirmed to The Times that it would now be investigating the Cross Farm in Holsworthy Beacon, Devon, which holds around 12,000 pigs and is Red Tractor certified.

The footage reveals “a string of abuses, both legal and illegal” at Cross Farm, including piglets crushed to death, and bins full of decaying corpses, discovered on the farm, across six visits in October 2023, January 2024 and June 2024.

The over 100 hours of footage showed instances such as piglets “thumped” and killed against concrete walls, piglets having their tails cut off and their teeth ‘clipped’, without anaesthetic and a piglet thrown by workers across the shed.

The film also found the animals showed signs of psychological distress, including mother pigs in cages showing repetitive behaviours like bar-biting, wounded pigs and animals kept in “filthy” conditions.

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The harrowing footage has caused the animal welfare group to take legal action against the farm, and submit a formal complaint to Trading Standards.

Animal Equality UK executive director Abigail Penny said: “Having visited Cross Farm personally on several occasions, I witnessed the suffering of these animals first-hand. I looked caged mother pigs in the eye and their deep sorrow will stay with me forever”.

“Pigs on Cross Farm struggle and suffer in the most abysmal conditions. All too often their cries are kept firmly behind closed doors, but our footage shows the wretched reality that so many mother pigs face on British farms today”.

“Cross Farm is a repeat offender, having been at the epicentre of a number of investigations over the years. Despite this, we monitored this farm over the course of eight months, and yet again discovered pervasive and ongoing issues. The authorities absolutely must step in and take our complaints seriously.”

It is not the first time a supermarket giant has been embroiled in controversy of its treatment of animals. Last year animal activist group The Humane League took the government to court for the second time in a bid to end the use of fast-growing ‘Frankenchickens’, with grocers such as Co-op and Morrison’s facing protests from shoppers.

Tesco has been contacted for comment.



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