An investigation by Animal Equality has revealed instances of mistreatment on a Spanish pig farm, which supplies meat used in the manufacture of the El Pozo sausage brand.

The organisation dedicated to ending cruelty to animals conducted the investigation at the Hermanos Carrasco farm in August 2017 with Spanish TV programme Salvados, the findings of which were broadcast on Spanish television last Sunday (4 February). 

In a statement and accompanying video provided to just-food, Animal Equality said its probe revealed “pigs in grotesquely cruel conditions, in violation of the law, suffering for days and weeks on end”. 

The animal welfare group said Salvados interviewed the owner of the farm who confirmed it sells its pigs to Spanish meat processor Cefusa. According to its website, Cefusa is the main livestock supplier to Grupo Fuertes’ meat-processing company El Pozo Alimentación.   

El Pozo products are stocked by UK supermarket Morrisons and online retailer Amazon, DP Meats based in London’s Smithfield Market, as well as The Spaniard Gourmet and Spanish Quality Import, according to Animal Equality.

Some of the findings from the investigation included: animals infected with abscesses and hernias, with severe deformities; ulcers covered with flies and larvae; animals living in pens with corpses in a state of putrefaction; containers overflowing with corpses of animals and larvae; and animals unable to stand being trampled and cannibalised by other malnourished pigs.

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Dr Toni Shephard, Animal Equality UK’s executive director, said: “These are some of the most sickening scenes of animal suffering I have ever seen. Those poor pigs would have been in sheer agony for weeks on end. This level of negligence and cruelty on any farm, let alone one in the EU, is an absolute scandal.”

She added: “This farm supplies Spanish meat giant El Pozo whose sausages are sold by Morrisons, Amazon and other UK retailers. We are calling on them to remove all El Pozo products from their shelves and websites immediately and replace them with any of the many plant-based alternatives.” 

A Morrisons’ spokesperson told just-food the UK supermarket had been in correspondence with El Pozo, which said it had stopped taking deliveries last year.

“The welfare of animals is extremely important to us,” the spokesperson said. “The images in this video are deeply distressing and we are concerned to see the condition of these pigs. 

“El Pozo have been clear that they stopped taking any animals from this farm last year.”

A spokesperson at Amazon UK declined to comment when contacted by just-food.

Animal Equality has offices in the UK, the US, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Brazil and India.

The organisation said it “has submitted its evidence to the Spanish authorities and is demanding that those responsible for this extreme cruelty are prosecuted and jailed”.