Two men have admitted animal cruelty after an undercover investigation revealed them beating pigs with plastic pipes and a metal bar.
Geoffrey Towell, 54, and James Dove, 27, both from Norfolk, were exposed hitting the animals on Harling Farm in an investigation carried out by animal rights group Animal Equality.
The organisation said Towell, from East Harling, pleaded guilty at Norfolk Magistrates’ Court to five counts of cruelty to pigs and piglets, contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, by hitting five sows with a plastic pipe – one 35 times – unlawfully killing three pigs by hitting them on the head with a metal bar, and using unnecessary force to handle piglets.
He also admitted one charge of failing to protect pigs from pain and suffering by lifting pigs by the ears and dropping them from waist height.
Dove, from Wymondham, pleaded guilty to two charges of cruelty by hitting sows with a plastic pipe and throwing pigs over a barrier – contrary to Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
He also admitted two charges of failing to protect pigs from suffering by lifting them with excessive force, lifting pigs by the ear and leg, dropping them to the ground and kicking them while moving them – contrary to Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Animal Equality said Towell’s defence lawyer, Jamieson Plummer, said “dispatching” of pigs by hitting them with a blunt instrument was not uncommon, but said his client was “ashamed” at the way it had been carried out.
The case was adjourned for sentencing until August 17.
Animal Equality spokeswoman Laura Gough said: “We are pleased that the people responsible for the harrowing scenes we documented on this farm, have been brought before the courts for the suffering they inflicted on pigs.
“Although laws are clearly insufficient to protect animals, we consider it’s important to use the little protection animals have to generate a debate on their exploitation.
“Nothing can erase what these individual animals went through. We maintain that the only way to stop this abuse is to not demand animal products.”