|October 22, 2005 Western Australia, Australia
[return to 'raid on perth pig farm uncovers horrific suffering']
RSPCA investigates pig cruelty claim
10:54 AEST Sat Oct 23 2004
The RSPCA is investigating a West Australian piggery after an illegal night raid by an animal rights group allegedly produced evidence of cruelty to pigs.
Two RSPCA inspectors were sent to the commercial piggery near Gingin, 87km north of Perth, to investigate claims made by Animal Rights Advocates Inc (ARAI), as the owners of the piggery launched their own legal proceedings against the activists.
ARAI coordinator Jonathon Hallett, who led the raid on Thursday night, said he and two others had entered Keene's Piggery without permission and inspected two sheds housing about 300 pigs each.
"We uncovered injuries such as a maggot-ridden bloody prolapse, infected joints, respiratory disorders and general distress, with repetitive behaviours and deprivation - where mother pigs could not even turn around to assist sick and injured young," he alleged.
Australian Pork Ltd (APL) strongly criticised ARAI, a Perth-based not-for-profit organisation, for illegally entering the property and denied the claims on behalf of the piggery owners.
APL spokesman John Lamont claimed piglets had been stolen, and the owners of the piggery had lodged a trespass complaint with police.
"We don't accept that pigs (at Keene's Piggery) were kept in appalling conditions for a start," Mr Lamont said.
"Keene's Piggery, as far at the RSPCA is concerned, has never been the subject of an animal welfare complaint before whatsoever."
The RSPCA did not condone illegal behaviour as a means of investigating alleged animal cruelty, spokeswoman Kelly Oversby said.
"As the RSPCA, we enforce the law and we certainly don't condone people breaking the law. There are better ways of going about it," she said.
Both the RSPCA and ARAI condemned commercial piggery use of sow stalls for pregnant pigs, however, APL maintained stalls were used to protect other pigs from sows, who became aggressive during pregnancy.
A report into the RSPCA investigation of Keene's Piggery would not be made until next week, Ms Oversby said.
"We will look at a prosecution if it is deemed to be a cruelty matter," she said.
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