A video of two pig farm workers from Húercal-Overa killing 72 piglets by jumping on them has made the town notorious across the world, being reproduced in media across Europe.
Two workers of Pienso Garla, 19 and 22 years of age, filmed themselves squashing the piglets to death and then sent the video to friends via the Whatsapp mobile phone application. They were supposed to be herding them to a new pen when one of the men tried to body surf on their backs, throwing himself no fewer than three times on top of the helpless animals.
In all, 19 animals died at once and the others had to be put down later due to their injuries.
The incident happened last January 7, and it was the owners of the farm who denounced the workers to the Guardia Civil when they saw the video. They also fired both the workers.
Renowned local ecologist Antonio Fernández told
he was shocked but not surprised.
He said: “Whilst I applaud the company for bringing the case to the attention of the authorities, maybe local pig farms should carry out some self criticism in the way they treat their livestock, and the training they give their staff”.
He added: “In my opinion many of the local pig farms do not fully comply with EU regulations upon the raising of porcine livestock, especially as regards space per animal”.
Councillor Antonio Lazaro said that “this town rejects all animal cruelty. Pigs in this town are treated very well, and this is an exceptional video [..] that does not reflect livestock conditions here”.
Both workers have been cited to a local court on animal cruelty and damages charges this February 1. The owners of the pig farm are asking for reimbursement of the €4,320 value of the dead piglets.
An online petition demanding jail for the two men received over 16,000 signatures in six days.
Pig farming is an important part of the towns economy. This is reflected in the annual “suckling pig bike race”, a bicycle race through the town every January whose winner is rewarded with a locally reared suckling pig.
Piensos Garla is a well known local pig business with a multi-million euro turn-over and almost 50 employees. Founded in 1987, it sits at position 1,099 in the Unicaja 2014 “Leading Andalusian companies” business analysis.