Shoppers were reduced to tears when animal welfare charity Viva! visited Bedford this week to expose the grim reality of pig farming.
The charity invited the public to ‘Face Off’ with the region’s pig farms by viewing undercover footage which showed sick animals in horribly cramped conditions.
Viva!’s video also showed the animals kept on slatted floors and with no enrichment apart from a hanging piece of metal.
Footage taken at Twinwood and Highfield Farms, run by Bedfordia Farms, showed a pig with a potentially infected docked tail, one with evidence of ear biting and damage, and another with a protruding hernia being bullied by other animals.
The video shocked those viewing the footage and reduced some to tears.
“People really need to stop, open their eyes and actually see what is being done” said Kate Barnard from Bedford.
“We all have the power to make the change and stop animal suffering.”
Laura Charnock from Kempston also watched the video, but has already adopted an animal free diet.
“Since I’ve gone vegan, I have actually cleared a heart condition,” she said.
“I’m a body builder and people often ask me where I get my protein from. People do not realise that you can be healthy and love a good lifestyle on a plant-based diet,” she added.
The campaign visit is part of a nationwide tour by Viva! and more than one million people have so far watched this, and the other films in the Face Off challenge.
“Many people are coming to the realisation that farming animals in these conditions simply to be killed and made into food is cruel and unsustainable,” said Juliet Gellatley, Viva! chief executive.
“Pork consumption is, in particular, under the spotlight as processed meats such as sausages and bacon are now directly linked to a variety of cancers.
“Whether people are meat eaters, meat reducers or vegetarians – everyone wants this cruelty to end.
“The aim of Face Off is to make sure their voices are heard and help spread the word about what animals are living through in order to end up on someone’s plate.”
Pigs are proven to be sensitive and intelligent animals and yet 90 per cent of the country’s pig meat is farmed in similar conditions, which are legal under current EU-set welfare standards.
We contacted Bedfordia for a comment but no-one was available as we went to press.