Essere Animali forced to censor videos of investigations of two Grana Padano dairy farms


Essere Animali forced to censor videos of investigations of two Grana Padano dairy farms

13 January 2022
Essere Animali

Following the release of two investigations of two different dairy farms where Grana Padano is produced, the Consortium that protects the most consumed PDO cheese in the world has filed a civil lawsuit against Essere Animali and filed charges against their legal representative and some other members of the organisation.

As a result of the civil proceedings instigated by the Consortium, albeit in the interlocutory stage, the Court of Brescia ordered the removal of all the online videos related to the undercover investigations. Additionally, the court prohibited the disclosure of any other footage or content from the investigations that involve Grana Padano. The only exception is the right to mention that the two farms involved are part of the Consortium. Essere Animali appealed the Court decision, asking them to reconsider the order of removal and to allow the videos to remain online. The Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano has also pressed charges against several members of Essere Animali, for different crimes including defamation and receiving stolen goods.
We know our investigations are troublesome, affecting the interests of powerful food groups, and we are aware of the legal risks we run. However, the need to improve living conditions for animals in factory farms drives us to carry out these investigations, and this is our primary goal. Attempts to intimidate us will not stop our work.
Simone Montuschi, President of Essere Animali

What happened

Following the dissemination of the first investigation, released on 13 July 2021, the Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano replied with a video in which it distanced itself from episodes of animal abuse by referring to “isolated cases”. Subsequently, the Consortium proposed a meeting at their headquarters, during which Essere Animali were asked to remove the references to the Grana Padano trademark from the video, without making any concrete proposals regarding the requests of Essere Animali and Eurogroup for Animals' Member Organisations.

Following the release of the second investigation on 29 September 2021, the police and official veterinarians intervened and found several animals in poor conditions. The farm, on which violations of regulations had previously been found, was sanctioned almost 10,000 euros, and was requested to adjust practices in accordance with regulations.

While the court of Brescia acknowledges that the investigations contain truthful footage, it accepted the request to blackout the investigative videos because they claimed the videos conveyed the message that "the entire production of the Grana Padano brand cheese takes place in violent ways and in the conditions reported". 

Essere Animali maintains the right to criticise and strive for the abolishment of legal and common practices such as the separation of the newborn calf from the mother and subsequent isolation, which cause stress and suffering to the animals.