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Shocking footage:
Irish Pig Farming Investigation

Compassion in World Farming’s Investigation Unit has uncovered the worst abuses of pig welfare in the EU to date.


Warning: our film and investigation photographs both contain harrowing scenes that may cause distress. You are able to take action without viewing them if you prefer.

In the spring of 2013, our investigations unit visited five Irish pig farms. The conditions they found were beyond our investigators’ worst expectations.

These farms were situated across three counties (Cork, Waterford and Kerry). We fear it is likely that they are representative of a large section of the Irish pig farming industry.

At the same time as this investigation was taking place, Ireland held the EU Presidency – and the Irish Government was making a show of taking the lead on animal welfare. Meanwhile, some of the most horrific cruelty we’ve yet uncovered was going on under its nose.

Our investigation found:

  • Pigs living in pens inches deep in excrement
  • Fly infestations due to the filthy conditions
  • Pigs covered in scratch marks caused by fighting
  • Widespread tail docking
  • Open wounds caused by tail-biting
  • Bored pigs chewing dead animals left in their pens
  • Weak and emaciated pigs left to die in corridors
  • Pigs in ‘hospital pens’ apparently just abandoned to die
  • ‘Dead bins’ full of pigs of all ages.

An ‘Irish only’ issue?

This is not an issue that only affects Irish consumers. 75% of Irish pig meat is exported, and 30% of that is destined for the UK.

Compassion will be writing to Defra to urge them to ensure that Irish pork products that enter the UK reach minimum EU regulations, and to pressure Ireland to ensure that these abuses end as a matter of urgency.

We will also be raising this issue with the European Commission and with Members of the European Parliament – who introduced and supported, respectively, the legislation that is being so clearly breached.

We have also supplied details of the farms we visited to both the Irish Government and the Garda (Irish police) and asked to be kept informed of the investigations they undertake.

But we also need you to send a clear message to the Irish Government that this cruelty to pigs is totally unacceptable. Please take a few moments to email Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney, today.

Please also tell your friends about our footage. If you share our outrage at the suffering inflicted on these animals, then please help spread the word and raise awareness of the horror behind the closed doors of intensive pig farms.

Please email the Irish Minister for Agriculture today to demand that he stops this cruel abuse of pigs.