Mass pig culling continues in Italy amid African swine fever crisis


Mass pig culling continues in Italy amid African swine fever crisis

14 September 2023
Essere Animali
Essere Animali documented serious biosecurity and animal welfare shortcomings in the management of pig culling.

First detected in Italy in January 2022, African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs. Whilst posing no threat to humans, mass culls have been taking place in an attempt to limit the spread of the disease amongst farmed pigs to reduce losses for farmers. 

New footage obtained by Essere Animali in the province of Pavia shows inadequately culled animals subjected to slow and painful deaths, and serious deficiencies in hygiene and biosecurity that may lead to further spread of the virus on farms. The footage shows:

  • Serious deficiencies in the facility and in the biosecurity procedures
  • Inadequate management of culling with severe additional suffering for the animals
  • The lack of animal welfare training of the workers involved
  • At least 5 pigs abandoned on the ground in the pen leading to the killing containers in an acute distressed condition with symptoms potentially attributable to ASF
The organisation also claims that improper implementation of biosecurity measures by the nation’s health authorities have resulted in the inability to control the spread of the disease, resulting in emergency mass culls that are a disaster for animal welfare.
We think it is essential to show images that show that, in the face of all the failings of the health authorities and our institutions, in a period of time in which public money has been spent on inadequate measures and biosecurity has not been sufficiently stringent, it is the tens of thousands of pigs that will be slaughtered in these days, amidst atrocious suffering and in the absence of adequate stunning, who will pay the highest price.
Simone Montuschi, President, Essere Animali