Animal rights activists say food-hygiene service cannot be trusted

Animal rights activists have criticized Latvia's Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) for perceived inactivity over what they claim are animal rights violations at a pig farm in Latvia. 

The Dzīvnieku Brīvība organization on September 3 released a video over animal welfare violations at the Baltic Pork pig farm in Allaži, Latvia. Be advised: it is very graphic.

"In June and July 2017 an animal rights activist documented the activities of Baltic Pork, finding a number of systemic law violations. In its regular inspections, the Food and Veterinary Service has not found any violations and, after receiving proof of the violations, PVD made an extraordinary visit where they did not find evidence that the violations are systemic," reads an announcement on the Dzivniekubriviba.lv website.

Dzīvnieku Brīvība claim that Baltic Pork have provided misleading data over the layout of the farm, where pregnant pigs are being kept in places destined for other pigs and pregnant animals kept in 1m2 cages instead of social cages with at least 2.25m2 of space for each animal.

Recordings by an activist who worked at the farm for a month as an employee show gruesome images of pregnant sows not having enough space to turn around in their tiny cages and piglets being gelded and having their teeth pulled without anesthesia.

"It's impossible that farm workers could have hidden the violations ... despite this, neither in the annual inspection in August, nor the emergency inspection a week later was the service able or willing to reveal illegal activities at the farm. It makes one pose a question - how many other farms there are in Latvia that are breaking the law with no consequence right in front of the eyes of PVD?" the activists claim.

The organization then goes on to point out several cases in the past where they perceive that PVD have tried to ignore or - if made public - downplay animal rights violations, including a widely publicized case last year where thousands of egg hens were kept in unsuitable cages but which ended with PVD issuing a warning. 

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