The Department of Agriculture is investigating alleged breaches of animal welfare standards on two Irish pig farms raised by a Dublin-based animal rights group.

A spokesperson for the Department told the Irish Farmers Journal that it will investigate these allegations following receipt of any evidence and take appropriate action where non-compliance or poor welfare is identified.

"Irish pig farms are subject to national and European pig welfare regulations and Department officials regularly inspect pig farms on that basis.

"The Department has a number of initiatives to support improvements in pig welfare, including pig welfare action plans, which the pig sector has engaged with, and the provision of grants through the Department’s TAMS programme to support higher-welfare buildings and infrastructure on farms," the spokesperson said.


The National Animal Rights Association (NARA) said that it investigated two pig farms in Ireland at random in January and recorded undercover footage purporting to show the alleged breaches on the two farms.

It has claimed that there were sick and injured pigs in the footage and that some were biting the bars of their pens repeatedly due to stress.

It criticised the use of farrowing crates and sow pens and claimed that there was over-use of antibiotics and a lack of access to manipulable material available on the farms. It also cited issues such as umbilical hernias and tail docking.

Dr Alice Brough, a former commercial pig vet based in the UK, claimed that 95% of pigs in Ireland have their tails docked, despite routine tail docking being forbidden in the EU, during a press conference held by NARA and Animal Rebellion Ireland on Tuesday 5 March.

However, Irish pig farms can get a derogation to dock bonham's tails if tail biting is an issue on the farm.

The NARA has called for the entire Irish pig industry to be shut down immediately.

It has said that it will continue to target more Irish pig farms, at random, within the next year.