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Standards board reject allegations of animal cruelty at Necton pig farm

PUBLISHED: 14:43 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 15 November 2017

Pigs at Mr Spratt's farm in Necton. Photo: Animal Equality

Pigs at Mr Spratt's farm in Necton. Photo: Animal Equality

© Animal Equality

A Norfolk pig farmer has denied allegations of animal cruelty after video footage of conditions at his farm was released by animal rights activists.

Edward Spratt, of Hall Farm, Necton, expressed his devastation over the accusations, and has been backed by Red Tractor, a food standards body.

He told this newspaper: “I’ve lived with animals all my life. This is extremely upsetting.”

Activist group, Animal Equality, carried out an investigation at four UK farms, where they claim to have uncovered “shocking scenes of cruelty and suffering”.

The group filmed pigs at Hall Farm apparently being kept in small pens for up to 127 hours, in which they could not turn around.

But Red Tractor carried out an on-the-spot inspection of Hall Farm the day after they were made aware of the allegations, and found “no major issues”.

A spokesperson said: “Because of the video footage we received, we suspended Hall Farm immediately.

“The basis of the suspension was the duration of confinement of sows in stalls, as alleged in the video footage.

“However, our on-site inspection found that sows can enter and leave at will from the stalls, which is not clear in the video.

“There were no other major issues picked up in the inspection, so their Red Tractor certification has been reinstated.”

Mr Spratt, 52, from the family-run farm JE Spratt, near Swaffham, said: “I love my animals.

“The inspectors found nothing. I’ve been given a clean bill of health. The auditor was here for six hours and looked everywhere.”

He said he had been targeted by vegan activists in the past, and added: “I think they just don’t understand how these free access stalls work.

“It’s totally legal. The sows are quite happy in there, and they are later moved into the big yard.

“I find this action extremely upsetting. It’s difficult to make this life worth living [as it is].”

In 2012, an inquest found that Stephen Brown, an East Harling pig farmer, took his own life after the release of Animal Equality footage of pigs on his farm allegedly being kicked, and beaten with iron bars by employees.

For legal reasons the EDP will not share the Animal Equality footage of Hall Farm.

When contacted for a comment, the group stood by its claims.

Read more: East Harling pig farmer Stephen Brown committed suicide

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