Failing Poplar pig farm given green light to expand

United Kingdom
Last autumn, Animal Equality’s investigators uncovered severe animal suffering and public health violations on Poplar pig farm – a Red Tractor certified farm in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Our findings made national headlines and more than 10,000 people have signed our petition calling on the Government to fully enforce UK welfare laws that prohibit many of the practices we documented on this farm (and several others).

Just one month after we released our investigation, Poplar pig farm applied for a permit to expand their facilities and raise a further 2,500 pigs every year. We sent our findings to the Environment Agency (EA) and urged them to deny the permit as Poplar farm had been shown repeatedly violating animal welfare and public health regulations. You also took action, with more than 1500 people writing to the EA to object to this permit.

Last week the Environment Agency announced their decision. Poplar Farm was given the green light to expand, causing even more animals to suffer. The Environment Agency permit specifically allows them to erect two new sheds, both with fully-slatted floors (FSF) throughout, to house an additional 2,506 pigs.

All of these additional pigs will be housed on fully-slatted floors, meaning that they will receive no manipulable enrichment such as straw or other suitable material, leading to boredom and aggression- which was evident in the bitten and scarred pigs we saw on Poplar farm. This type of pig housing system gets around providing enrichment (required by law) as the gaps allow the pigs waste to fall through. Enrichment would clog up the gaps and prevent drainage.

 

In Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, fully-slatted floors have been banned for several years because it is not possible to comply with the EU requirement to provide permanent access to straw in this housing system. It is therefore extremely disappointing to see new pig sheds continue to be erected in Britain with fully-slatted floors, let alone on farms where welfare violations have recently been documented.

Unfortunately there is no right of appeal with the Environment Agency; however, several MPs will be raising questions with Defra on this issue – specifically, why permits are still being issued to build pig sheds with fully-slatted floors when it is not possible to provide the legally-required enrichment in this system.

 

You can take action to help pigs today!

We are calling for the UK Government to properly enforce pig welfare laws and protect the millions of pigs languishing on British farms from enduring the type of unnecessary suffering we have documented at Poplar, and other farms. Join us and give pigs your voice!

The best way to help pigs is of course leaving them, and all animal products, off your plate. Sign up for delicious cruelty-free recipes and advice at www.loveveg.uk