11/02/23 Overcrowded Pigs Trampling Over Each Other and Fight, Hogs Eating Piglets, Injuries
Animal Friends Croatia was contacted by shocked witnesses of measures implemented to suppress African swine fever
- The organization sent a memo to the Minister of Agriculture, demanding that the welfare of pigs prior to and during transportation be taken into consideration
Following the recent memo sent to the Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković emphasizing that pet pigs and pigs from shelters should not be subject to measures for suppressing African swine fever, Animal Friends Croatia decided to readdress the Minister. In the most recent correspondence, they reported on having been contacted by residents from Slavonia villages shocked by the harsh treatment of pigs being transported to slaughterhouses in accordance with the Order on Control Measures for Suppression of African Swine Fever in the Republic of Croatia. Although pigs are transported for slaughter, the group demanded that the Minister request veterinary professionals and other persons working on the implementation of the above measures to take into consideration the minimum welfare of the animals transported to slaughterhouses, as stipulated by existing legal provisions.
Animal Friends Croatia received reports from witnesses that trucks are “loaded with sows, hogs and piglets all mixed up,” which causes panicking pigs to trample over each other and fight, “ending in broken bones, with hogs eating sows’ piglets.” This happens with every truckload and, although the bystanders are aware that pigs are headed for slaughter, “it is horrible to watch how inhumanely they are treated.”
One of the motives behind this unethical treatment is the extremely short deadline that European Commission gave Croatia, until November 20, 2023, to slaughter or “euthanise” over 50,000 pigs placed in facilities lacking bio-security measures before it can issue Croatian authorities with permission to trade in fresh pork freely. However, Animal Friends Croatia states that measures stipulated by the Order and the economic reasons behind it cannot justify or allow for disregard for laws on animal welfare. They emphasize that inadequate animal treatment during transport is a breach of provisions of the Animal Protection Act and EC Regulation no. 1/2005 establishing animal protection during transport and related operations, stipulating “the basic principle according to which animals must not be transported in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to them.”
“We reminded the minister that pigs are highly intelligent social animals whom scientists consider more intelligent than dogs, having extensive memory, dreams, recognising their own names, able to learn ‘tricks’ for a treat such as sitting down, enjoying music, playing with football and massages, even playing video games and leading social lives previously identified only with primates. Moreover, pigs feel fear and pain, and in conditions of overcrowding they tend to show social domination so that in a line to slaughter, they often walk in groups in which they lived jointly during their breeding,” explained Snježana Klopotan Kačavenda, Animal Friends Croatia Project Coordinator. She added that the animal welfare group found it absolutely horrifying that animals so similar to humans are farmed and slaughtered. In this light, their harsh treatment during loading on vehicles of transportation and during transportation itself and the disregard for their welfare during transfer to slaughterhouses is even more shocking, causing protests even among pig farmers.
“Pig’s entire life consists of disgusting farming conditions, a continuous cycle of forced reproduction by artificial insemination, detainment, early piglet separation from their mothers, tail and tooth clipping and spaying without using painkillers… Naturally flawlessly clean, pigs are forced to live in their own excrement and vomit. Extreme crowding in enclosures, poor ventilation, and dirt lead to infectious diseases for which animals get excessive amounts of antibiotics, with many dying of infections despite the treatment. Regardless of how pigs are bred, their life inevitably ends in slaughterhouses. Transitioning to a meat-free diet is the most efficient way to end their suffering and stop the spread of infectious animal diseases and zoonoses,” concluded Klopotan Kačavenda.