A top Scottish pig farmer is being investigated after shocking footage emerged showing injured animals being hammered to death.
Breaches of animal welfare rules are being investigated at the P&G Sleigh Pig Unit at Oldmeldrum.
Philip Sleigh was, until last month, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland’s pig standard-setting committee.
Animal Equality UK carried out an undercover investigation at the farm, and captured graphic footage of pigs suffering severe injuries and, in some instances, being hammered to death or bludgeoned against a concrete floor.
The Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) has confirmed a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.
Mr Sleigh, who was also previously chairman of NFU Scotland’s pigs committee, declined to comment when approached at his farm today.
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Undercover investigation reveals disturbing scenes
Animal Equality UK, which was set up in 2006, filmed disturbing scenes of piglets deemed too small or too weak being hammered to death or hit off the floor, and potentially left suffering.
The undercover investigation also suggested many pigs were kept in squalid, dark conditions at the pig unit and a number are seen with wounds to their bodies.
The group has sent letters outlining the allegations to the authorities, prompting an investigation.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We will be submitting a report to the Procurator Fiscal based on information we received concerning breaches of animal welfare law at a farm in northeast Scotland.
“Considering this, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
QMS has now removed Mr Sleigh’s farm from its quality assurance scheme.
Supermarkets pull out
Pigs raised at P&G Sleigh Pig Unit are sent to Quality Pork Processors (QPP) at Brechin.
QPP has confirmed the animals are no longer sold to markets that require assurance standards.
The meat would previously have been supplied to major supermarkets including Lidl and Tesco as well as other restaurants and retailers.
A Tesco spokesman said the farm had been delisted “indefinitely”.
He added: “The conditions shown on this farm are completely unacceptable. We require all farms in our supply chain to adhere to strict animal welfare standards and we delisted this supplier as soon as we were made aware of these allegations.”
A Lidl GB spokesman said: “We take the matter of animal welfare extremely seriously and are committed to maintaining high welfare and traceability standards throughout our supply chain. All of our fresh pork originating from Scotland is assured to QMS certified standards.
“Upon learning of these concerning allegations the farm has been suspended from our supply chain with immediate effect, pending a full and thorough investigation by QMS.”
A spokesperson for the National Pig Association said the sector took allegations of the mistreatment of pigs seriously and that as soon as the claims came to light it had urged relevant authorities to investigate.
The NPA statement added: “As with all livestock farming however, pigs do sadly become ill or injured and when they do not respond to treatment, will need to be euthanised. What matters is the skill, expertise and care exercised by the stockperson in identifying problems and dealing with them appropriately.
“Euthanasia is a permitted legal practice and can be conducted in a variety of ways, dependent on the size of the pig, provided it is in accordance with veterinary direction and oversight. In this instance however, the footage does depict inadequacies with regard to the method of euthanasia used and pig handling, which is totally unacceptable.”