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NI pig farm under scrutiny after activist visit

Agriculture inspectors have visited a pig farm in Northern Ireland after the farm had been entered last week by about 40 activists from the global movement Meat the Victims.

The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) sent inspectors to the farm to investigate potential welfare breaches.

Activists entering a pig farm in Northern Ireland

DAERA did so after animal welfarist group Meat the Victims claimed that the animals were being kept in poor conditions. The activists entered the farm near Cloughmills, Co. Antrim, last week Tuesday, January 13. Members of the group posted live video footage of their actions on the farm on social media. They also posted pictures, which contained images of dead pigs and others that had been injured.

During the course of the visit, which started at 4.30am, the group members, some of whom had flown into the country for the event, identified one pig that they wanted to ‘save’ and took it from the farm. The break-in on the farm ended by 7am. Police were present but did not act.

The pig that was ‘saved’ by the action group, as posted on social media. Photo: Meat the Victims
The pig that was ‘saved’ by the action group, as posted on social media. Photo: Meat the Victims

Illegally entering a pig farm in the Netherlands

Meat the Victims is known for illegally entering pig houses to raise awareness for what they perceive to be animal abuse. Last year, a similar action in the Netherlands even drew 200 animal welfarists to a pig farm. At that time local farmers showed up in support of the pig producer. In addition, 76 activists were arrested.

Earlier actions of the activist group took place in e.g. Spain, Australia and Canada.

The farm where the activists broke in, is a member of the British quality assurance scheme ‘Red Tractor’. The scheme has also announced its intention to launch an investigation, according to newspaper Metro.

The owners of the farm told the BBC that the animals were ‘healthy, well fed and warm’. The owners also pointed out that the action by the activists had created biosecurity risks.

Documentary on ‘stealing pigs’

It’s not the first action of the group in the United Kingdom. Earlier in 2020, the animal activist group also featured in a Channel 4 documentary titled ‘How to steal pigs and influence people’. It led Mitsubishi Motors to withdraw their sponsorship from the programme.

With input from correspondent Chris McCullough.

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