Investigation exposes cannibalism at pig farm supplying Tesco

Read Time:   |  17th July 2018

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Vegan charity Viva! Campaigns have yet again exposed shocking scenes of animals suffering on a pig farm supplying Tesco supermarket.

cannibalism at tesco pig farm

Animal welfare group, Viva! Campaigns have released disturbing footage taken inside Hogwood pig farm, a supplier of supermarket giant Tesco. The footage exposes shocking scenes of animals suffering from severe distress and shows one pig being eaten alive. The farm carries the Red Tractor seal of approval, an industry body who claim to ‘promote clearer labelling and ensure food originates from trustworthy sources’.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this farm has been in the limelight. Last year, Viva! Campaigns’ undercover team hit the headlines by exposing shocking conditions at Hogwood pig farm in Warwickshire where they discovered severe overcrowding, pigs covered in excreta, barren, filthy conditions, animals abandoned to die, cannibalism of corpses left to rot amongst the living and decaying piglets were engulfed in a sea of writhing maggots.

The initial 2017 investigation was reported to the government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Trading Standards and Tesco, all of which denied that there were any issues on the farm, with Tesco claiming, “We take animal welfare extremely seriously and expect all our producers to meet recognised farm assurance standards, including Red Tractor certification, as well as our own stringent, industry leading requirements.” [1]

Following a tip-off that conditions had not improved, Viva! Campaigns decided to revisit the farm in July 2018. Once more, the team discovered animals dumped in a gangway with no access to food or water with no escape, filthy barren sheds and a complete disregard for animal welfare.

Damning evidence 

Founder and Director of Viva!, Juliet Gellatley, explains the importance of this investigation for raising the profile on animal welfare, detailing her findings from Viva!’s initial investigation into the farm:

 “Our initial investigation showed pigs so tightly crammed into a disgustingly dirty industrial unit that it was hard to walk through them.  Many were covered in lacerations and all were smeared in filth. Mothers were kept in crates, forced to birth on cold concrete floors with no space to move or interact with their young.

“Despite the overwhelming amount of damning evidence exposed at Hogwood in 2017, both the government and regulatory bodies overseeing the industry have failed to issue any sanctions to this farm. There have been no repercussions for the people who are keeping these animals in such horrific conditions.


Despite previously exposing the conditions on the farm, the vegan charity found that Hogwood farm is contemptuous towards animal welfare; with pigs kept in filthy, barren conditions and injured and ill pigs still being left in a gangway with not even a blade of straw for comfort.”

Distressingly, the charity’s investigation discovered that the animals are in such extreme distress on the farm that there have been incidences of cannibalism amongst the pigs.

Juliet described the heart-wrenching scenes she found, stating:

“One little piglet at the bottom of the heap was visibly shaking – she was being eaten alive! Her hind legs were injured and bloodied and the blood was smeared over walls and floor. Other pigs were biting at the exposed flesh. It must have been excruciatingly painful and the look on her face will live with us forever. She was making no effort to escape – there was nowhere for her to go – and so all we could see was her absolute and total dejection and pain. It was mortifying – something none of us ever want to see again.”

Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) guidelines state dead animals should be removed from the living and diseased animals should be kept in isolation [3]. Cannibalism is not natural behaviour for pigs and is caused by this bleak environment [4].

Shocking investigation 

Sadly these conditions are by no means exclusive to Hogwood farm, and echo the lives of most pigs in Britain (and elsewhere), who endure short and brutal lives on farms where their welfare is of far lower importance than production.

In light of the shocking investigation at Hogwood, Viva! has asked that Tesco takes action against these atrocities and stops sourcing meat for their stores from this farm as it is their duty to their consumers to whom they say “We take animal welfare extremely seriously”. [1]


[1] Daily Mirror Website 2017. News page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 July 2018]

[2] British Meat Processers Association. 2018. Home Page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 July 2018]

[3] Animal & Plant Health website. 2017. Home Page. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 June 2017]

[4] Viva! 2016 Pig Farming: The Inside Story

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Vegan Food & Living

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