ANIMAL welfare charity the RSPCA has condemned a video that appears to show a pig farm worker kicking a sow in the face.

The footage was allegedly captured during a protest by campaign group Meat the Victims at Holme Farm, Ince, near Ellesmere Port, on October 26.

The farm worker is shown to shove his foot in the face of a pig that moves towards him, prompting one activist to shout: ‘Stop hurting her!’.

Animal rights campaigners sent the video to the Standard and we sent it on to the RSPCA for comment.

Chester and District Standard:

Stills from the footage.

A spokesman for the national charity then told us: “What is seen in the footage is unacceptable. Farm animals are sentient creatures who feel pleasure and fear.

“Like any animal, pigs deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect, and should not be struck in order to make them move. They should be gently encouraged to move with appropriate equipment, such as pigs boards.”

The protest group, which linked up with another called Virtue for Animals, wanted to raise awareness of the conditions in pig farms and encourage people to adopt a vegan lifestyle.

The activists said: “Behind closed doors we are once again reminded of the sad reality of animal farming.

“The pigs will spend the majority of their lives indoors, inside dirty, barren sheds where they will be fattened up for slaughter.”

Chester and District Standard:

A still from another video uploaded to YouTube by the activists.

The footage – said to be from inside Holme Farm - shows pigs fighting with some having sustained bloody injuries to their ears.

It also reveals sows in ‘farrowing crates’ which are restrictive cages supposedly designed to allow piglets to suckle without the risk of being squashed.

In response to this, the RSPCA spokesman told this newspaper: “We have spoken with Trading Standards regarding conditions on the farm and they, along with Defra, are looking into this further."

Defra said it would not comment on complaints but stressed it investigated all thoroughly.

The council’s Director of Place Operations, Maria Byrne said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council has recently carried out a joint inspection of Holme farm with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

"Advice on best practice has been offered to the farmer and both the Council and APHA will be conducting a follow-up visit to confirm that the advice is being followed.

"We take animal welfare seriously and will not tolerate any poor conditions. The inspection was carried out within 24 hours of the allegations being published. There is no ongoing investigation into the matter.” 

Chester and District Standard:

Holme Farm in Ince.

The farm’s owners, J H Willis & Son previously said they were not commenting on the content of videos taken at the protest.

However, a spokesman accepted the group’s right to protest, saying they had turned up using public footpaths through the site and had not caused any damage.

“They were putting their feelings across,” he said. “Everyone is entitled to their beliefs.”