Animal Equality defends investigation

Vegan group Animal Equality has been forced to defend itself over why it chose to wait more than six months to report animal welfare abuse at a Norfolk pig farm.

An undercover investigator from the group filmed at Harling Farm for 72 days from July to September 2011, collecting over 200 hours of footage and more than 300 photos, which Animal Equality claimed showed “appalling scenes of suffering, pain and physical and psychological violence”. However, the group waited until last week to release the footage, using it to launch a high-profile anti-meat media campaign.

Visitors to the Animal Equality Facebook page have questioned why the group waited so long to report the alleged abuse to the authorities, and why no-one approached the owner of the farm to inform him about the behaviour of his employees. Additionally, questions were raised about the fact that the investigator had taken a job looking after pigs on the farm, despite having no qualifications in pig husbandry, and that some of the pigs in the footage were those in his care.

A spokesperson for Animal Equality posted a comment on the Facebook page stating: “Animal Equality would like to reiterate that the investigator highlighted to both workers and the farm owner on many occasions the other problems that were occurring on the farm while he was present.

"Regardless of this, both he (and we) had a job to do, and that was to document the reality of pig farming. Animal Equality documented the findings thoroughly, as any other organisation would do. But this takes time. As mentioned also, we have sent all the raw footage and photographs to the relevant authorities.”

Another comment from the group said: “The investigator is in no way responsible for the terrible events filmed at Harling Farm. The images filmed were occurring on a regular basis during the two-month period he worked there. The facts here are clear and should not be manipulated or distorted.

“Beating animals to death has no justification. Also, the investigator highlighted on many occasions pigs’ injuries, and the situation of the farm to workers and the owners. We have over 200 hours of footage, and what we see on the videos and photos, is just a small portion of what was going on at the farm. To blame the investigator, is just a way of hiding responsibilities.”

Stephen Brown, the owner of the Norfolk farm, was found dead on Wednesday morning. Police have confirmed there were no suspicious cicumstances surrounding his death.

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