Mike Sheldon, BPEX board member and director of Greenway Farms Ltd, was the first Chief Executive of the National Pig Association (1998-1999), and formed the first united trade association for the UK pork industry. From 1982-1995, he worked for the Pig Improvement Company, the worldwide pig genetics company.
Sows are held in farrowing crates. Floors are concrete with slats below the sows’ rear to allow waste to fall through. Aside from some shredded paper, presumably to help soak up blood, there is no bedding or comfort for them.
Dead piglets litter the pens. The body of one young animal lies twisted on the floor. Another victim lies dead in the placenta, while in another pen, four lie dead together.
A mother, unable to move from the confines of the farrowing crate, watches her dead newborn. In another crate, two dead piglets lie next to their mother.
Yet another piglet lies gasping for breath. Her skin appears bruised and bloody.
Stillborns lie in the bloody litter.
Flies crawl over the living and the dead.
In the growing-on unit, there is no sign of any enrichment.
Since our first visit – and the media interest in BPEX farms – there appears to be more attention given to keeping the units clear of dead piglets. But the farrowing crates remain the same non-enriched environments for the sows.
In the growing-on pens, hanging chains have been provided as a basic (and inadequate) form of enrichment.
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