Norfolk pig farm suspended by Freedom Food over 'disgusting' footage

Man kicking pig
Image caption Animal Equality claims some pigs were kicked in the undercover footage

An RSPCA food welfare scheme has suspended a Norfolk pig farm from its label while it investigates potential animal welfare "failures" at the site.

Little Thorns farm, near Swaffham, was dropped by Freedom Food after it featured in "disgusting" footage.

A film was released apparently showing pigs being beaten at two East Anglian Pig (EAP) Company farms, one being Little Thorns.

EAP said it does not tolerate animal mistreatment and is investigating.

An undercover film of alleged pig mistreatment was released to the media by animal rights group Animal Equality on Sunday.

Footage shows a piglet being hit on the head with a bar, pigs being hit, kicked and slapped, and another being thrown over a gate, appearing injured afterwards.

Lee Grant, chief executive of Freedom Food, said: "I know personally and I know my colleagues were absolutely disgusted by what we saw on the footage that was obtained there [at Little Thorns] late last year.

Image caption The RSPCA said it had 'serious concerns' about some of what is shown in the footage

"It is absolutely unacceptable. We will not tolerate practices like that on farms where we have certificates in place.

"That is not what consumers expect when they buy Freedom Food."

Mr Grant added that practices he saw at Little Thorns were "extremely rare" and was "convinced" that it did not happen at other farms under the Freedom Food label.

Freedom Food logos are added to the packaging of foods that meet strict RSPCA welfare standards.

The Piggery, at Didlington, which is also part of the campaigners' footage, is not part of the Freedom Foods scheme.

The RSPCA said it would not be pursuing an investigation at The Piggery after it saw the film and subsequently paid a visit to the farm last week.

A spokesman for EAP, based near Norwich, said it was carrying out a full internal investigation into the handling of livestock.

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