Shocking photographs and footage have been released exposing rampant animal cruelty and illegal practices on Spanish pig farms.
The ‘Tras Los Muros’ (Behind the Walls) project is led by photojournalist Aitor Garmendia and has revealed widespread animal abuse, negligence, and other disturbing details about Spain’s lucrative pork industry. Photographs show pigs with untreated infected injuries, living in unsanitary conditions, and pig carcasses that remain unmoved for days.
The undercover investigative work took place between 2019 and 2020 across the regions of Aragon, Castilla-La-Mancha, and Castilla y Leon which collectively host 17% of Spain’s roughly 86,000 pig farms. To confirm that what they recorded were not isolated incidents, Germandia and his team revisited each site. In one case they returned to a farm to find pig carcasses which had been unmoved for three days.
Spain is set to overtake Germany as Europe’s main pork producer. The industry has an estimated value of 15 billion euros and has largely survived the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Eurogroup for Animals, a Brussels based NGO, said that ‘these images testify to an enormous amount of suffering that should be prevented or mitigated’. They highlighted evidence of routine tail docking, which is illegal in the European Union. It was also raised that the atmosphere created by poor sanitary conditions is harmful to farmworkers as well as livestock.
In response to the allegations Interpoc, a trade body for Spain’s pork industry claimed the project was ‘aimed solely at damaging the sector using out-of-context images’. In 2016 the Spanish government found that 19% of the 11,195 pig farms they inspected were in breach of regulations.
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