An initiative by Aussie Farms and Animal Liberation ACT

The people behind the cruelty

Those who make a profit by abusing or exploiting animals will be exposed for who they really are.

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Edwina Beveridge (Blantyre Farms)

Edwina Beveridge

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Edwina Beveridge owns at least two piggeries, Golden Grove and Dead Horse Gully (DHG), both on Murringo Road just outside Young NSW, under the company name Blantyre Farms along with her husband Michael Beveridge.

Upon discovering hidden cameras at Golden Grove Piggery, Edwina Beveridge set a trap for activists. On the night of Saturday 11 May 2013, activists left their car on a dirt road near the piggery and began to approach the piggery on foot. However, they soon noticed searchlights and vehicles ahead of them at the piggery and behind them at the car. Eight men were sent out by Edwina to "hunt" the activists.

After being pursued for around 4 hours, the activists made it back to their car after being picked up by an acquaintance. Upon trying to drive away, the activists discovered one window of the car had been smashed in, the tyres had all been let down (the valves were cut), their belongings including personally-identifying documents had been rifled through, and there was considerable damage to the engine. They were picked up again by their acquaintance and chased on public roads by a ute full of Edwina's staff for approximately ten minutes, before her staff gave up and turned around.

In an interview with The Land, Edwina publicly admitted to having seen the identification documents of the activists that were securely locked in the car, which would have only been possible if she had indeed authorised the damage.

Photos of damage to car by employees of Blantyre Farms

The car was written off by the insurance company and replaced with a brand new model.

Due to Edwina knowing the identity of the activists, and her proven violent nature, the activists were forced to move home. Yet, she has sought an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against Animal Liberation NSW Executive Director Mark Pearson, despite the fact that Mr Pearson has never set foot on her property, had never met or seen her, had no involvement in the acquisition of footage or photographs from her piggery, and had never threatened or displayed violence towards her. The AVO was a desperate attempt by Edwina to prevent any images from inside her piggery from being published.

At Golden Grove Piggery, Edwina keeps sows confined to tiny cages within farrowing crates. In these cages, sows showed signs of distress, exhibiting stereotypies (abnormal repetitive behaviours) such as bar biting, rubbing repetitively on bars and protruding edges, prolonged pressing and pushing, head bowing, weaving, stepping back and forward and 'sham' chewing. Many have great difficulty standing up or lying down due to weakness, the tiny size of their cages, and the slippery metal floor. Some pigs had less than two inches of space in front or behind them, and all were unable to take more than one or two steps forwards or backwards, and were unable to turn around. Edwina keeps them here for upwards of six weeks at a time, as is the industry standard.

The manager hired by Edwina, David Hewson, is seen on hidden camera footage repeatedly beating and jabbing sows with both ends of an oar-like implement, in order to get them to stand up - he does this to every sow he finds lying down, every day he is working in the farrowing crate shed. This is often done in full view of other employees. Whenever sows see him coming, they are visibly scared and try to stand up, but often fail to do so in time.

Cannibalism at Blantyre Farms' Dead Horse Gully (DHG) PiggeryWorkers at Edwina Beveridge's Golden Grove Piggery cut off the tails and teeth of piglets, and cut sections out of their ears, all without pain relief. Tails are discarded in the aisles and sometimes even end up in the food trolley. Tail cutting is performed by the majority of piggeries in Australia as an attempt to prevent cannibalism (tail biting) once the pigs are moved into overcrowded "grower" sheds which completely lack stimulation. Despite the tail cutting, Blantyre's grower facility, DHG, has a severe cannibalism problem.

At Golden Grove, Edwina Beveridge has an artificial insemination "rape shed" in which six boars (male pigs) and a number of sows are kept. Semen is "extracted" from the boars by workers. Sows due to be re-impregnated (shortly after being moved out of the farrowing crates) are then moved into small cages approximately the size of sow stalls, and the semen is forcefully inserted into them by the workers via tubes called Pork Storks. This process sometimes needs to be repeated one or a few times before the sow becomes pregnant, at which stage she is moved into the large group housing sheds, which features row upon row of open-backed sow stalls, where the sows can move out into a small corridor between the stalls, but must return to the stalls for food and water or to avoid being attacked by other sows, as is common due to the overcrowded, unstimulating conditions. The air in this shed is filthy, and for the sixteen weeks of their pregnancy the sows remain trapped here without sunlight, on concrete floor where they must live amongst each others' urine and faeces (in natural conditions, pigs will urinate and defecate far away from where they sleep and eat).

Nevertheless, Edwina has the audacity to claim that she and her workers were the ones who had been violated (by the filming of conditions at her piggery).

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