Investigation launched into massive pig farm in Harborough district after allegations by animal rights campaigners

The huge pig unit near Lutterworth has almost 9,000 animals

By Red Williams
Thursday, 27th August 2020, 11:51 am
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 11:52 am
Footage of pigs at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.
Footage of pigs at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.

An investigation is being launched into allegations by animal rights campaigners involving a massive pig farm near Lutterworth.

The probe is being carried out at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton, by Leicestershire Trading Standards backed by the RSPCA.

The huge pig unit in the Harborough village has almost 9,000 animals.

Footage of pigs at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.

The huge pig factory farm had vowed to uphold the highest standards of animal welfare after being awarded the Red Tractor logo – which it has now been stripped of.

But a four-month undercover surveillance operation by animal rights campaigners has allegedly exposed a number of issues including pigs driven by extreme boredom to attack each other, inflicting savage cuts and bites.

A spokeswoman for Bristol-based vegan group Viva! told the Harborough Mail: “Flat House Farm in Gilmorton should be shut straight away. We have been carrying out investigations like this one on farms all over the UK for the last 26 years. And this is one of the worst cases we have ever come across and exposed in all that time.”

Charity investigators set up secret cameras at Flat House Farm between March and the end of July.

Gary Connors, of Leicestershire Trading Standards, said: “Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards Service were made aware of the concerns and visited the premises to ensure animal health and welfare standards met regulatory requirements. Further visits will be undertaken as appropriate to ensure that any specific areas identified as requiring improvement are implemented.”

Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough District Council, told the Mail: “These allegations are deeply shocking. Animal welfare on our farms is paramount in modern day farming.”

“I would urge the appropriate authorities to investigate these allegations urgently.”

An RSPCA spokesman said: “We were very concerned about the footage.

“It showed a number of pigs who appeared to be suffering with severe injuries and injuries requiring urgent treatment, underweight pigs, poor carcass disposal practices and stock-keepers striking pigs.

“For biosecurity reasons, animals such as feral or domestic cats should not have access to the pig accommodation.”

A Red Tractor spokesperson said: “We are appalled by the images in the footage, protecting animal health and welfare is one of our top priorities.

“Red Tractor requires all members to meet every standard, every day and take any breaches of these standards seriously.

“Last month we immediately launched an investigation and the farm's membership of the scheme has since been terminated.”

Conservative MP Henry Smith, co-chairman of the all-parliamentary group for animal welfare, said he was very concerned about the allegations.

The Harborough Mail visited the farm and spoke to Rachel Elvidge, a director of Elvidge Farms Ltd and its company secretary.

Asked about the allegations, Ms Elvidge, who is also the farm manager, declined to comment.

She told the Harborough Mail: "We will have something to say when the time is right.

“But I don’t want to comment or say any more at this time."