ACTRESS Joanna Lumley has condemned the neglect of pigs in farms in Cyprus and across Europe following an investigation by an animal charity which claims widespread law-breaking.
Lumley and Dan Jorgensen MEP revealed the results of an investigation by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which alleges widespread breaches of EU law in place to protect the welfare of pigs, at a meeting in the European Parliament.
CIWF went undercover in Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain over six months to expose the reality of life for pigs farmed in Europe, a spokeswoman for the charity said.
Compassion visited 45 pig farms in these six countries and claims all but one were breaking welfare laws which require pigs to be provided with materials such as straw so that they can engage in natural behaviours such as discovering their surroundings and manipulating materials, the spokeswoman said.
She continued: “In natural conditions pigs are highly active, spending 75 per cent of their day rooting, foraging and exploring.
“Such activities are impossible for factory farmed pigs. Bored and frustrated, they turn to the only other thing in their bare pens: the tails of other pigs. They begin to chew and then bite those tails.
“To prevent tail biting, farmers slice off (dock) part of the piglet’s tail. However, scientific research shows that the correct way to prevent tail biting is not to dock the tails but to keep the pigs in good conditions.
“In recognition of this, the Pigs Directive has since 2003 prohibited routine tail docking.”
She said footage recorded by CIWF found pigs kept in appalling conditions, from filthy barren pens and pigs covered in excrement and flies to sick pigs left to die in dingy corridors.
Lumley, a patron for CIWF, asked MEPs to use their influence in their home countries, and with the European Commission, to ensure the Pigs Directive is enforced to protect Europe’s pigs.
She said: “I don’t know what I’m most shocked by, this ghastly film showing pigs kept in this deplorable way, or the absolute indifference of most European member states and many pig veterinarians.
“The scandal is that the EU Pigs Directive is a law that is completely flouted. Pigs need straw to root around in and mustn’t have their tails docked. What has happened to that law? Laws must be enforced – otherwise there’s no point in parliament, there’s no point in democracy.”