An investigation by Tras los Muros (Glass Walls )- Author: Aitor Garmendia (Photographer for Animal Liberation)
Factory. The industrial exploitation of pigs.
With a population of more than 30 million, the Spanish pig sector has established itself as the largest producer of live pigs in the European Union, and in 2020 it is expected that the number of animals sent to the slaughterhouse will exceed that of Germany, a country that in these moments ranks first.
In July 2019, a slaughterhouse and the largest pig cutting plant in Europe began its activity in Binéfar, in the province of Huesca. It is estimated that it will lead to the death of160,000 pigs a week. Under the relentless rhythm of production, animals suffer from systematic exploitation and institutional helplessness.
The images presented in this work as well as the description are representative of the standards in which the industrial exploitation of pigs is developed.
Between 2019 and 2020 I, Aitor Garmendia, have accessed, together with a research team made up of people who have chosen to remain anonymous, to 32 pig farms located in Castilla y León,Aragón, and Castilla-La Mancha.
In them, I have verified and documented the consequences of the structural violence that takes place under the standards of the livestock industry.
Veterinary neglect, non-compliance with the animal welfare law, and the abuses described below are not isolated cases, but rather an inherent part of industrial animal husbandry and exploitation systems.
At the factory farm
More than 95% of the pork meat consumed in Spain comes from intensive farming systems. The farms can be closed-cycle and contain all phases of production (gestation, farrowing, and fattening) in one or more locations geographically close or may be dedicated to covering
All farms operate under similar standards and are governed by the same regulations.
Regardless of their size or their structure in phases, the quality of life of the pigs is compromised in any of them, be these large farms or small facilities managed by families.In their houses, pigs for meat production are housed on concrete floors in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and females selected for their reproductive capacity spend part of their lives trapped in iron frames.
Área de gestación Aragon 2019
Confinement prevents the natural behavior of pigs, which, like their ancestors, must be able to develop for their well-being.The frustration of your interests and needs leads to numerous health problems.
Unlike other species, pigs lack sweat glands, and their ability to dissipate heat is very limited. If they have the right conditions, they look for cool places, streams, and puddles to take mud baths or rest.
However, on intensive breeding farms the temperatures can be very high – something common in hot months – and given the impossibility of accessing a place to cool off, they have no choice but to wallow in their excrement.
Eye injury-Castilla-La Mancha 2020
Power, propaganda, and right to information
The industry invests millions of euros in propaganda – part of it coming from public funds – in order to project an idea that does not conform to what actually happens.
I watched today a very disturbing programme on the plastic pollution down the entire lengths of the White and Blue Nile rivers. Microplastics which are in all the fish now swimming the Nile; caught and eaten by people; and the huge, massive plastic dumps on which cows, donkeys and goats are grazing to survive. Tributaries of the Nile now completely clogged / blocked up with used plastic bags and just the largest amount of plastic bottles you will ever see. Depressing, real depressing.
It was on ‘Sky’ – and here is the link in which you can see some of the devastation I witnessed in the programme.
“Fish in the Nile have no choice but to eat plastic”.
The thing I find most depressing is that there are some world people who; given their financial status; could pump some money into solving eco disasters such as this. Instead they become simple losers who do everything in their power to remain non-losers. For weeks now we have watched with sadness and amazement, the things that one person will do to try and hold on to power; when the good people of the USA have enacted their democratic right and voted to rid themselves of the plague that currently infests the White House.
But, he, the ‘infestation’; is a global warming climate denier, does not give a damn about animals or the environment in general; yet seems to expect; or should that be ‘demand’, that people fully support him ?
He has money which could be put into fighting world climate and eco devastation projects; instead he pumps it all into keeping his own, and his families heads above water; attempting to preserve his status when the democratic right of the American people have told him to take a walk.
His fortune will not solve any eco problems the world has; which is very sad considering that if he really wanted to be ‘liked’ by a lot more; he could easily invest into campaigns to improve the planet and make it a better place rather than the eco disaster it is now rapidly becoming. So, in my personal view; an idiot who will never get one ounce of respect out of me. Respect has to be earned; I have learnt that throughout my life trying to be a voice for animals; and to me; he deserves not one ounce of respect; he is simply not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat; he is a Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, for me, being a Brit, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a big time bully.
I think you can guess who I write about !
Below – From supporter ‘Climate Change Take Action Now’ who we thank for drawing this very important issue to our attention. We are really an animal site; but like all people involved with animals; protection of the environment and the wonderful world we inhabit is all part of the same game.
Regards Mark – and give a shit when it comes to being a voice for the planet and for the environment.
It is far too late to save the Alpine glaciers. And now, the dangers caused by tons of melting ice are rising sharply. Every year, climate change is destroying two of the currently 70 square kilometers of glaciers left in the Alps.
The permafrost in the Alps is thawing, and transforming what used to be sturdy slopes into loose screes. In addition, climate change is leading to significantly more extreme weather conditions every year, while heavy rainfall causes serious erosion. The result: avalanches and landslides like those in Bondo, Switzerland, or Valsertal in Austria. In Switzerland, residential areas are shrinking as people are forced to leave their homes forever. The disappearance of glaciers as water reservoirs is already posing a major problem. Farmers in Engadine, who have been using meltwater for irrigation for centuries, are already facing water shortages. Last summer, they had to rely on helicopters to transport water to their herds in the Grison Alps. Above all, alpine villages depend on winter tourism to survive. Yet experts are forecasting that by mid-century, there will only be enough natural snow left to ski above 2,000 meters, which will spell out the end for about 70 percent of the ski resorts in the Eastern Alps. But instead of developing alternatives, lots of money is still being invested in ski tourism. Snow cannon are used to defy climate change, and artificial snow systems are under construction at ever higher altitudes. As usual, it’s the environment that is set to lose as the unique alpine landscape is further destroyed by soil compaction and erosion. Some municipalities are now working on new models of alpine tourism for the future. As global temperatures continue to rise, the cooler mountain regions will become increasingly attractive for tourists, especially in the summer.
A few glacier related issues we have covered on WAV in the past:
Climate Change Reconsidered: Science the U.N. Will Exclude from Its Next Climate Report.
“Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science” — produced by a team of 40 scientists — is the newest volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series produced by The Heartland Institute and members of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). As in previous reports, thousands of peer-reviewed articles are cited to determine the current state-of-the-art of climate science. This newest volume’s findings challenge the alarmist reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose next report is due out later this month. NIPCC authors paid special attention to contributions that were overlooked by the IPCC or that presented data, discussion, or implications, arguing against the IPCC’s claim that dangerous global warming is occurring, or will occur, from human-related greenhouse gas emissions.
After a two-year career working undercover inside several factory farms, Animal Outlook investigator Erin Wing now reveals her identity, stepping out of the shadows to shine a light on the stomach-churning horrors she witnessed at her most recent — and last — investigation at Dick Van Dam Dairy, a factory farm in Southern California.
While there, Erin documented some of the most egregious cruelties she has seen in her career, along with barbaric (yet standard) dairy industry practices. She was also able to rescue a calf who now lives at a sanctuary (more on the calf rescue below).
What Erin witnessed was one of many dairy farms in its death throes with innocent cows caught in the middle of a battle between a world progressing and an industry fighting tooth and nail to keep us entrenched in the past.
This shocking footage underscores the urgency to end this inherently cruel industry once and for all. It’s time for consumers to ditch dairy, and for companies like Dean Foods to pivot to vegan products.
Animal Outlook’s undercover footage revealed:
• Cows so sick or injured they are unable to walk subjected to extremely cruel treatment by workers who sprayed them in the face with high powered water hoses; kicked, jabbed and shocked them; and closed metal gates on them.
• Workers routinely lifting these so-called “downer” cows with a tractor and dragging them with a metal device called a “hip clamp.” They lifted one suffering cow this way and dangled her almost 20 feet in the air to move her over a wall, and then dragged her backward over a cement slab.
• Sick cows left to suffer without medication, veterinary care or euthanasia. They languished for days until they died on their own, with no access to food or water while they were unable to stand.
• Workers and a manager hitting cows with wooden canes and metal pipes in daily acts of extreme aggression and violence, sometimes as a form of retaliation against the animals.
• Workers and managers punching and kicking cows, and twisting their tails.
• Squalid and filthy conditions – cows forced to walk through thick feces and newborn calves unable to escape thousands of flies covering their fragile bodies.
• Shocking mortality rates of cows and calves, as well as high rates of injuries and illnesses – likely resulting from the putrid conditions and lack of care and treatment. One calf was born dead, and was pulled roughly from his or her mother. The mother cow didn’t have the benefit of pain management during this incredibly painful and rough incident.
• Cows repeatedly shocked with an electric prod as they were taken away to slaughter.
• Workers cruelly using automated gates to try to force cows to move in tightly packed spaces.
Turning hidden cameras into instruments of truth, undercover investigators are on the front lines of justice for animals — and consumers. Erin’s courage resulted in hidden camera footage that is changing the way the world sees what — and who — they’re eating. And the against-all-odds rescue of two young calves.
In more ways than one, dairy is dead on arrival. Cows must be pregnant in order to produce milk, so calves are mere byproducts to the industry. At Dick Van Dam, a slow and painful death was commonplace for calves. In one instance, a stillborn calf was pulled violently from his suffering mother. Many living calves were simply left in the hot California sun, covered in flies and slowly dying.
Meanwhile, consumers are slowly but surely realizing that the milk they drink does not come from happy cows, but relies on the broken bond between mother and child, and the violent exploitation of these individuals’ bodies. The dairy industry is dying, but not fast enough.
We also followed a truck carrying so-called “spent” cows from the factory farm to a stockyard. Later, we documented trucks going from that stockyard to American Beef Packers (ABP), the site of the former Westland/Hallmark Beef Packing plant that closed down after issuing a massive beef recall following the Humane Society of the United States’ 2008 undercover investigation, raising the question of whether this facility’s cows are ending up killed at this infamous site. ABP currently sells beef to the federal government for its National School Lunch Program.
Animal Outlook submitted investigative materials to county law enforcement agencies. Despite our overwhelming video evidence depicting dozens of apparent violations of California’s laws against animal cruelty and neglect, local law enforcement declined to recommend criminal charges. However, we are still actively pursuing justice for these animals through other means. And after reviewing the investigation, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Dick Van Dam Dairy and the individuals caught on camera for violating state and local animal cruelty laws.
When you go vegan, it’s great to share your new, kinder way of living with family and friends. Many people are completely unaware of the impact that their food choices have on animals, the environment, and their own health – but you can help open their eyes. An easy way to do that is by inviting them to watch one of the following documentaries with you.
Dominion: Created by Australian director Chris Delforce, this powerful feature-length film shows footage from farms and slaughterhouses across Australia, crushing the myth that what happens to animals used for food, clothing, or entertainment is in any way humane. You can stream this documentary for free online.
Earthlings: Many vegans consider Earthlings to be essential viewing for all meat-eaters. The powerful documentary takes an in-depth look at the way we treat other animals, showing viewers why we’ve got to be more compassionate towards other sentient beings.
Cowspiracy: This film offers a comprehensive look at the effects of food production on greenhouse-gas emissions, deforestation, water consumption, species extinction, ocean “dead zones”, and pollution – and it’s available to stream on Netflix.
What the Health: Promoted as “the health film that health organizations don’t want you to see”, What the Health exposes the consequences of eating meat, eggs, and dairy and makes you wonder, Why isn’t this common knowledge? We hope it will be soon, especially since the documentary is available on Netflix.
Forks Over Knives: This documentary examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.
Lucent: This feature-length documentary explores the darker side of Australia’s pig-farming industry through a combination of hand-held and hidden camera footage, highlighting the day-to-day cruelty accepted by the industry as standard practice.
Unity: Despite the advent of science, literature, technology, philosophy, religion, and so on, nothing has prevented humankind from killing one another and other animals and despoiling nature. Unity is a film that explores why we can’t seem to get along, even after thousands and thousands of years.
Fast Food Nation: This film was inspired by the book of the same name, which examines the fast-food industry. It covers everything from cruelty to animals to the treatment of employees.
Gods in Shackles: This one is not food-related – it’s about the shocking cruelty to elephants who are used in processions and temples in Kerala.
Blackfish: This one isn’t food-related, either, but it’s an excellent film for raising awareness of the plight of animals among people you’re introducing to the concept of eating vegan. It’s about Tilikum, a now-deceased orca who was held at the US-based captive animal marine park SeaWorld. This powerful documentary resulted in a tremendous backlash against the park, once one of America’s more celebrated attractions.
Okja: This Netflix original movie directed by Bong Joon-ho (also known for Snowpiercer and Parasite) and starring Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal is fiction, but it has helped many people consider the plight of real animals and led them to eat vegan. It follows Mija, a young girl who fights to save her best friend – a massive “super-pig” hybrid named Okja – from the meat company Mirando.
The Game Changers: A UFC fighter’s world is turned upside down when he discovers an elite group of world-renowned athletes and scientists who prove that everything he had been taught about protein was a lie. It’s available to stream on Netflix.
Sharing your vegan pledge with family and friends can help you stay on track and be a very rewarding experience. Remember: the more people who take the pledge, the more animals will be protected.