A major investigation reveals the cruelty suffered by sows in the EU. The organization Compassion in world farming, or CIWF, is conducting an undercover investigation in which shocking footage has been collected from 16 pig farms in Italy, Spain, France and Poland. It reveals the suffering of over 85% of sows on farms with cell rearing systems in the EU – incl. the producers of premium ham brands such as Parma and Bayonne.
As the promised ban on keeping animals in cages in the EU has not yet entered into force, approximately 9 million pigs are forced to live in cramped quarters and cages. Pigs spend almost half their adult lives in cramped cages that don’t even fit them. As long as they are capable of giving birth, they are artificially inseminated, and during the pregnancies, and not only then, they live lying in their own excrement. The size of the cells limits them in maternal instincts and proper care of the young. The conditions are miserable and the births also take place in cages. The smell of ammonia and the inability to move freaks the animals out and causes them to chew the air and bite the metal bars in agony.
In response to these shocking revelations, the non-governmental organization for the welfare of animals and the protection of the environment, sent the summarized results of the investigation to the ministers of agriculture throughout Europe. An appeal has been made to every active citizen and supporter of the cause to send letters and emails insisting to the ministers for an immediate ban on cage farming in the territory of the union. This change has been expected since last year, when the European Commission committed to introduce changes in the legislation in response to the “End the Cage Age” welfare initiative, which collected over 1.4 million signatures from EU citizens.
With the Parma brand, about 8 million shoes are produced annually, 36% of which are exported. The largest importer is the USA, where 757,000 packages were sold last year. In France, about a million packages of Bayon brand ham are produced every year, which are exported to the market in the USA, Germany, Belgium, Japan and Great Britain. There is no data available on the quantities of exported production
“Consumers who pay a higher price for ham than Parma and Bayonne brands will probably be shocked to discover that products from the so-called ‘high-end’ come from farms with such cruel production conditions,” says Ina Müller-Arnke, an expert from the organization Four Paws. According to the investigation data, the farms of these premium brands are no better than ordinary ones – the animals there spend a significant part of their lives locked in cages and deprived of basic needs and hygiene.