Denmark: Pig abuse linked to transport system

30-11-2009 | |

In the last two years, the number of cases involving pig abuse in Denmark has quintupled, the Copenhagen Post is reporting.

The country’s largest slaughterhouse, Danish Crown in Horsens, and the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology at the University of Copenhagen, have noted that in some cases more than 30 pigs have arrived at slaughterhouses with serious injuries.

In 2006 a new system was introduced for transporting the pigs more quickly and has been offered as an explanation for the increase. ‘When a system is like that it can provoke a violent reaction if the farmer suddenly sees 30 pigs running in the wrong direction,’ Henrik Elvang Jensen of the University of Copenhagen said.

Elvang Jensen said studies of the pigs’ injuries showed that most of them were occurring on the farms. The injuries were caused by blunt instruments such as pipes, plans and chains, he said.

Erik Bredholt, in charge of Danish Crown’s pork production committee, said beating animals was completely unacceptable. ‘Every farmer knows you don’t get your pigs loaded on to the truck faster by beating them,’ he said.

The increase in the number of injured pigs had nothing to do with the new system, Bredholt argued, but instead to the economic pressure many farmers were presently under.