Heather Mills exposes "cruelty" in pig farm raid

Heather Mills is backing a campaign to stop farrowing crate farming after a film was released of her breaking into a pig farm with vegetarian campaigners as an "undercover" attempt to highlight what she claims is animal "cruelty".

However the move has angered the farmer, Michael Underhill of Briarwood Farm, at Greinton, near Bridgwater, who is considering legal action and claimed the trespassers might have brought disease onto his farm.

Mills and the animal rights charity Viva claim the practice of using farrow crates should be banned.

Farrowing crate farming is used throughout the industry to stop the sows from accidentally crushing their piglets.

It involves the sows being made to stand upright in a pen for weeks allowing the pigs to wean underneath.

The campaign is specifically targeting Marks & Spencer as it claims the chain is selling meat from animals reared in this condition.

However, M&S said in a statement that it was very disappointed that Viva is taking this action as it met and told the group before Christmas that it was phasing out the use of farrowing crates - a move supported by CIWF and the RSPCA.

"All our fresh pork is already outdoor bred and we have committed to moving it to free range. Around 30% of all the pork we sell is already outdoor bred and does not farrowing crates. This includes all our fresh pork and we have committed to remove the use of farrowing crates for the rest of our pork."

A spokeman for BPEX said farrowing crates are allowed for indoor production to match the welfare needs of the sow with her piglets.

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