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Animal groups at odds over pig cruelty

Date

Christopher Knaus

Wally's Piggery near Murrumbateman. <i>Photo: Animal Liberation ACT and Animal Liberation NSW. </i>

Wally's Piggery near Murrumbateman. Photo: Animal Liberation ACT and Animal Liberation NSW.

The RSPCA has criticised animal rights activists for obstructing an investigation into ''disgraceful'' animal cruelty and abuse at a piggery near the ACT.

Activist group Animal Liberation released two lots of video footage it says shows the ''brutal and cruel'' abuse of pigs at Wally's Piggery in Murrumbateman, just to the north of Canberra.

The first vision, recorded between May and July, showed workers kicking piglets and beating sows with a sledgehammer, sparking investigations by police and the RSPCA. But the RSPCA say their efforts have been frustrated by the failure of activists to provide statements to verify the footage.

YouTube screen grabs of recent footage taken in Wally's piggery.

YouTube screen grabs of recent footage taken in Wally's piggery. Photo: Supplied

RSPCA NSW chief executive officer Steve Coleman said the original vision of the piggery, which he described as ''disgraceful'', is virtually useless in court without corroborating statements.

''Law enforcement agencies, that include the RSPCA, continue to be frustrated because as footage is released direct into the public arena, it immediately prejudices the opportunity to use that footage,'' Mr Coleman said.

''That's further complicated by the absence of people that have taken this footage coming forward and providing statements.

''We are starting to form the view that it is just not going to be possible to use that evidence, given that we are still waiting for the statements to validate it.''

Animal Liberation says it is still in legal discussions with the RSPCA over the footage.

Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Jess Ferry said the group had heard no such criticism from the RSPCA during their discussions.

''Our lawyers are in talks with them, so I can't see how bringing that issue into the media helps anybody,'' Ms Ferry said.

''This is about the piggery and what's happening to these animals day in and day out there, and what's happening in the industry day in, day out,'' she said.

The group released more vision of the piggery this week, which they say shows continued mistreatment of pigs despite the facility being ''closely monitored'' by regulators.

RSPCA NSW says it cannot see any identifiable animal cruelty offences in the second batch of vision.

Mr Coleman said the video's release, alongside suggestions that the public could not have faith in regulators, was disappointing. ''It is frustrating,'' Mr Coleman said.

''Step up to the plate and finish informing the public while providing the statements, so that we can take action.''

Ms Ferry said the RSPCA was contributing to the delays, saying it had failed to find and interview the owner of the piggery over the alleged animal cruelty.

''Why is it that activists who took the footage are holding up the investigation, when they haven't even interviewed the owner of the operation?'' she said.

''For me, it just doesn't add up.''

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