A new investigation from the Italian animal rights group Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV) reveals pigs living in filthy sheds, suffering from untreated infections and injuries, and having their tails illegally cut off at six Italian factory farms that raise pigs for Parma ham.
Parma ham—the most popular type of Italian prosciutto—is sold worldwide as a specialty product, but LAV’s investigation exposes a system of abuse at supplier farms that many consumers would not expect. According to campaigners, however, these conditions are typical and part of “the shocking reality for many pigs farmed in the EU.”
The video shows pigs kept in squalid conditions, in dilapidated sheds with insufficient ventilation and failed water systems. Many animals are in desperate need of veterinary care, some too injured or weak to even move, and dead pigs are left on the floor for long periods. The pigs are kept entirely indoors and forced to stand and lie in their own waste. Overcrowded and frustrated, some pigs chew at the ears, muzzles, and limbs of other pigs—behavior that stems from the abusive conditions that deprive these animals of the space and freedom to move and explore.
As Mercy For Animals investigations have repeatedly shown, the pork industry is rife with torturous conditions for these smart, sensitive animals.
Pigs are considered the fifth-most intelligent animal in the world—even more intelligent than dogs. And like dogs and cats, pigs are playful and social. Despite this, the meat industry treats them as mere objects.
Pigs raised and killed for food are taken from their mothers at just 10 days old and have their tails cut off, their teeth clipped, and their testicles ripped out without any painkillers. Piglets who are too sick or not growing fast enough are often gruesomely killed by being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors. Surviving piglets are packed together into filthy pens.
While pigs in nature live for about 15 years, at factory farms they are selectively bred to grow extremely fast, reaching slaughter size in just six months. Sows are repeatedly impregnated and confined in gestation crates, barren metal cages so small the animals are unable to turn around.
After a life of torment, pigs are brutally slaughtered by being hoisted upside down and having their throats cut.
If we wouldn’t treat dogs or cats in such appalling ways, how can we pay the meat industry to do it to pigs? Each of us has the power to say no to animal abuse by replacing inherently cruel animal products with compassionate vegan alternatives.