ACT News


'Cruel' piggery continues to operate

WARNING: This article contains graphic images and footage that may distress readers.

A pig farm near Canberra continues to operate more than three months after it was placed under investigation for animal cruelty.

New footage of Wally's Piggery, in Murrumbateman, shows a pig's head and pools of blood on the floor of the premises, and dozens of animals crammed tightly in pens.

Animal Liberation NSW, which published the video online on Monday, says it was recorded at the farm on the weekend.

The RSPCA began to investigate the piggery in August after activists released footage showing one of its workers kicking piglets and beating sows with a sledgehammer.

That earlier video, which activists recorded covertly between May and July this year, also showed buckets of dead piglets stored nearby and sows left with open, untreated wounds.


It sparked a police raid and several investigations into whether the owner had breached animal cruelty and food safety laws.

Animal Liberation NSW's executive director, Mark Pearson, said on Tuesday he was unaware who filmed the new video, but it showed the farm's owner was still harming animals.

"There's blood and hair and guts everywhere, so he's still processing pigs," Mr Pearson said.

"This is in spite of all of the investigations he is under. Unless you put CCTV in there to see what he's getting up to, the community cannot be assured he's acting responsibly."

The RSPCA carried out a random inspection of the piggery in September, and concluded it had fewer pigs and improved conditions.

The agency's chief inspector, David OShannessy, said at the time that the piggery had phased out its breeding and no sows remained on the property.

He said on Tuesday his agency's investigation into the farm's alleged cruelty was drawing to a close, though the RSPCA would continue to monitor the property.

"We're still conducting random visits to assess compliance with the code of practice and to monitor the welfare of the pigs on site."

But he said the new footage was not, in itself, evidence of cruelty.

A NSW Food Authority spokeswoman said on Tuesday the agency had investigated whether the business had sold any pig meat, but found no evidence of it. The piggery was not licensed to operate an abattoir.

The Murrumbateman piggery's owner did not answer calls on Tuesday.

Intensive-farming of animals, such as cage-egg production and sow stalls, will be banned in the ACT under the parliamentary deal struck between Labor and the Greens this month. However, Wally's Piggery, which is in NSW, will be unaffected.