AN Oxfordshire-based pig farming company is under investigation after a farm worker was filmed slamming piglets to death.

Whiteshoot farm in Blewbury near Didcot and Calvesley farm in Berkshire both operate under Winterbrook Farm Partners which is also based in Blewbury.

The activist group Viva placed cameras on both the pig meat farms and found horrifying footage of abuse and neglect over the course of three weeks which has led to an investigation by food regulators.

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The activists said Whiteshoot, a fattening and finishing centre, had an entire shed of injured and sick animals, some suffering bite marks, and some suffered prolapses as a result of illness or fast growth. They said their footage also showed pigs dumped in a walkway and left in visible pain.

Lex Rigby, campaigns manager at Viva said: “What we found there was one piglet was out in the walkway and was clearly dying and had been abandoned there.

Oxford Mail:

“There was a whole other shed that had the sick and dying pigs in. There was a lot of injuries like tail biting and ear biting and there was a couple of prolapses.

“They had been isolated because rightly they were being treated in separate pens. But a lot of the bad handling we saw was in the breeding facility in Berkshire.

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“Whiteshoot is a huge facility there is 8,000 pigs in there at any one time, so it is massive and in the middle of nowhere and very hidden from public view.”

Calvesley Farm, a breeding facility in Berkshire which is also owned by Oxfordshire farm company Winterbrook, was exposed by Viva with a video of a farm worker slamming piglets to death on a concrete floor.

Footage also showed farm workers cutting off piglets’ tails without pain relief and pulling out teeth with pliers.

Viva found the farm’s incinerator in an open-ended shed and saw piglets covered in maggots.

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They said the practices were in violation of the Government’s guidance on how to handle ‘fallen stock’, which states: “While waiting for your fallen stock to be collected, you must ensure that animals and birds cannot access the carcase.”

As a result of the Viva investigation, Red Tractor – a product certification programme and food regulator – has suspended both farms insurance that operate under Winterbrook Farm Partners.

A spokesperson for Red Tractor said: “We were very disappointed by some of the images in the footage. Protecting animal health and welfare is one of our top priorities. Red Tractor requires all members to meet every standard, every day and take any allegations of breaches seriously.

“We immediately launched an investigation and as a result the farms’ Red Tractor Certification has been suspended and sanctions put in place.”

The Oxford Mail attempted to contact Winterbrook Farm Partners for a comment.