In January, we broke a shocking story on ITN News about how hunt dogs – as well as foxes, badgers and ‘game’ birds - are being slaughtered and their bodies used to make electricity and gas.
It wasn’t just an energy story. Our undercover filming at hunt kennels in England and Wales showed appalling animal abuse and breach of regulations.
It surprised us all to learn that perfectly healthy hunt puppies are killed for not being good enough to join the hunt pack. And when one puppy does make the grade and joins the pack, it means the death of an older dog. Instead of being re-homed, they’re shot in the head.
It’s estimated that 6,000 dogs are killed every year in England, just for not being good enough to hunt - and their bodies used to make electricity.
Time to act
We decided that we couldn’t let it end here. We needed to keep on raising awareness of these issues and help bring some justice to animals, even if the laws in this country are too lax when it comes to their mistreatment.
We launched a crowd funder to enable more investigations, with our founder Dale Vince pledging to personally match every pound raised.
In under a month, we smashed our £15,000 target to raise an amazing £21,930, doubled to £43,860. Thank you.
This money means that we’ve already been able film undercover at a number of intensive animal farms across Britain. A lot of our work is still ongoing but we can now reveal our first investigative findings from our ongoing investigations into animal cruelty, funded by you.
Death by shotgun
Government investigators first came to a pig farm in Norfolk to investigate a mystery illness in a small number of pigs. After being tested, which required the pigs to be killed first, the results came back negative for suspected foot and mouth and vesicular swine disease, with the mystery illness still unidentified.
Following this, the pig farmer decided the rest of his herd were worthless. What happened next is – as you can see in the video below - unforgiveable.
The undercover footage shows 15 pigs herded into a straw baled area and shot at. At least half of the pigs can be seen writhing and convulsing, and a single shot is not enough to kill many of them. Others are fired at several times, as they scramble frantically inside the enclosure.
Electricity made from animals
As with the slaughtered hunt dogs, there’s a potential link to energy generation.
The same lorry that was seen removing the dead bodies from the farm was spotted a day later leaving an animal by-products processing factory, JG Pears.
Animals brought to JG Pears are rendered down into Meat and Bone Meal (MBM powder) and then burnt in biomass to make electricity.
Dale Vince says: “Forget the farming idyll of the meat marketing industry - farms are not safe for animals.
“Again and again, we see evidence of the most awful treatment of animals on farms. Some of it is allowed by the rules (incredibly), some of it is not. This brutal murder of pigs by shotgun is something else.
Animals are a food choice we don’t need to make - animal farming is driving the climate crisis, multiple human health crises and global wildlife extinction. It makes no sense. It certainly makes no economic sense - we get far less food from animals than we feed to them.
It’s a barbaric, senseless, abusive industry - that’s literally killing us and the planet we live on. It’s time we moved on as a species.”
We’re continuing our undercover investigations intensive animal farms across Britain and exposing cruelty wherever we find it.
In the case of these 15 pigs killed by shotgun, Dale Vince is working with Advocates for Animals, the UK's first animal law firm, to see whether the law has been broken.
If we can take more action, we will.
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