oA video claiming to show animals being treated brutally at an Oxhill farm has been branded ‘fake news’.
Hogwood Farm owner Brian Hobill responded to news that Tesc0 and the Red Tractor farm assurance scheme were dropping his pork following a two year campaign by the Viva! group.
As part of his response Mr Hobill produced a letter from an unnamed, specialist pig veterinarian which accused the video footage of being ‘distorted’.
Mr Hobill said: “We have been harassed and targeted by vegan activists during the last two years. We have endured 28 vigils in front of our family home and have suffered over a dozen break-ins with criminal damage being carried out.
“We have had assaults on members of staff and verbal abuse. A member of staff was rammed by an activists car during one vigil.
“We have had secret footage recorded that has been professionally edited to support their views which gives an inaccurate representation of real events.
“The vegan activists are against all livestock farming. We have passed all inspections including spot checks by Animal Health, DEFRA, Red Tractor, Trading Standards and Tesco.”
The report from the Hogwood Farm specialist pig veterinarian said: “Camera angles, lighting and professional video editing...can distort a scenario and result in a completely inaccurate representation of real events.
“Viva! cannot be regarded as an unbiased or reliable witness in this case.
“I happened to be on the farm on July 29 (when) I believe these illegal cameras were on site. During this visit Mr Hobill received an unannounced call from Animal and Plant Health Agency vet at the gate to do a spot inspection. This was duly done and passed.
“I believe this farm is in the top 20 per cent of units in this country based on the quality of buildings, skill of stockmen and care and attention practised on a daily basis.”
Juliet Gellatley, founder of Viva! said: “This response is simply another attempt to detract from the fact that Hogwood has abysmal conditions where pigs suffer. Each time that animal cruelty is exposed at Hogwood, they claim that the footage is manipulated.
“But it is clear that Hogwood has breached animal welfare code on multiple occasions, including the inappropriate use of force and objects to move animals, failure to recognise clinical signs of lameness, failure to provide appropriate treatment to sick and injured animals, and failure to maintain hygiene in farrowing crates —just to name a few.
“All breaches have been reviewed by an independent pig vet and reported to the APHA and DEFRA.”