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Madrid Protesters Set Up Powerful Display of Tools Used for Pig Mutilation

Over 150 protesters recently took a stand against cruelty in Spain’s pig farming industry with a demonstration in Madrid. Display cases revealed industry instruments commonly used to mutilate piglets.

Last month, in a powerful display of advocacy, more than 150 animal activists joined Animal Equality in the heart of Madrid for a peaceful protest against Spain’s pig farming industry.

Together, they carried posters bearing images from Animal Equality’s recent investigation into pig farms, shedding light on mutilation, neglect, and animal abuse in Spain’s meat industry.

This action followed the European Commission’s failure to address animal welfare issues in its 2024 agenda.

During the protest, we displayed instruments commonly used to mutilate piglets including tail-cutting instruments, tooth-cutting pliers and ear tag applicators.

Tail-docking machine

Used to cut off the tails of piglets. This tool is usually used without pain relief and is designed to reduce tail-biting behaviour among pigs, who can become bored and frustrated from their unnaturally crowded and barren conditions. The tail cutting can lead to infection and inflammation, as well as the formation of neuromas (a benign tumour of nerve tissue, causing thickened nerve endings) at the tip of the tail causing pain to the pigs.

Tooth-cutting pliers

Used to cut the teeth of pigs. This tool is also often used without pain relief and is designed to prevent pigs biting each other. As with tail-biting, pigs bite each other’s bodies due to stress and boredom.

Ear tag applicator

Used to pierce and add tags to the ears of animals. These tags are used to identify animals as numbers, rather than using individual names. It is a painful process that can cause damage, infections and friction wounds.

Hundreds of passersby at Animal Equality’s demo in Madrid paused to view these instruments and speak with the protesters. We took the opportunity to explain the cruelty involved in intensive pig farming and are calling for an end to factory farm cruelty across the country.

Our efforts caught the attention of top national Spanish newspapers, opening the eyes of millions of readers and emphasising the urgency of the situation to Members of the European Parliament.

A Silent Epidemic of Suffering

Animal Equality has conducted investigations all around the world into the pig farming industry for more than a decade, exposing the animal suffering that is deeply ingrained in the industry. Due to disease, injury, and mutilations, countless pigs die on factory farms before ever reaching the slaughterhouse.

Recently, our Spanish team released an investigation inside five pig farms across the nation. Inside, they found pigs with injured limbs and eyes, wounds oozing with pus, and prolapsed rectums and uteruses. Dead pigs lay scattered across the farm, their distressed companions nibbling at the bodies as rats scurried by.

While there are some laws to protect pigs in Spain who are trapped in this system, oversight and accountability before the law is severely lacking. An estimated 10-15% of pigs in Spain die before ever reaching the slaughterhouse.

But Spain is not alone in this crisis.

The UK suffers a similar enforcement problem. Working with The Animal Law Foundation, we found that fewer than 3% of UK farms are inspected by the Government each year on average. And just half of complaints made against farms in the UK are investigated.

This Must Stop

In the next few weeks, Animal Equality teams are pushing to have animal protection laws added to the European Commission’s 2024 plans. We’re in touch with Members of the European Parliament, our supporters, and other animal protection groups, and we’re planning actions to pressure those in charge.

Here, we’re also calling on the UK Government to make critical changes to the legal framework. We are urging for a farm licensing system to be put into place, and for more frequent announced and unannounced inspections to take place.

We will not stop until all animals get the protection and respect they deserve, and until animals are no longer exploited for human consumption.

You Can Help Animals Too

Every time you eat a plant-based meal, you are directly sparing animals from a life of suffering.

You don’t need to wait for politicians to act to save animals… you can do that right now!

protect pigs

Pigs are highly social animals who are often considered smarter than dogs. You can protect these intelligent animals by simply choosing plant-based alternatives.

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