Protest against alleged cruelty at a huge Harborough pig farm held over the weekend

A protest against alleged cruelty at a huge Harborough pig farm went ahead on Saturday (October 24).
Footage of pigs at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.Footage of pigs at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.
Footage of pigs at Flat House Farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.

The peaceful demonstration targeting Flat House Farm at Gilmorton, near Lutterworth, was staged at the Clock Tower in Leicester city centre.

Vegan activists from all over the country gathered to protest about the massive farm from 1pm-4pm on Saturday afternoon.

The event was held after animal welfare campaigners Viva! released undercover footage captured inside the Red Tractor-approved farm on Ullesthorpe Road, Gilmorton.

The group carried out a four-month investigation at the farm.

Campaigners used secret cameras to film inside sheds at the sprawling site.

The story was covered by the Harborough Mail at the end of August as well as national newspapers.

Activists from Leicestershire Animal Save and Leicester Animal Rights joined Viva! on Saturday to show footage from Flat House Farm on large TV screens, hand out literature and discuss the investigation with the public.

An eye-catching video van was also driven through the centre of Leicester on Saturday.

Protesters in the vehicle played video clips from the Flat House Farm inquiry to the public as they drove along.

An urgent probe is now being carried out into conditions at Flat House Farm by Leicestershire Trading Standards backed by the RSPCA.

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

The pig factory farm had vowed to uphold the highest standards of animal welfare after being awarded the Red Tractor logo.

The farm has now been stripped of the coveted seal of approval.

Viva!’s intensive surveillance operation has allegedly exposed issues such as 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 at the time: “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.”

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 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 said: "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."

You can read the Harborough Mail’s original story here: