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    Brutal footage secretly filmed at a filthy piggery shows workers kicking pigs and RIDING them - but the owner defends the practice saying it 'helps them to breed'

    Mon 22 Feb 2016 by Candace Sutton (Daily Mail Australia)

    This article relates to the following facility: Yelmah Piggery (Aussie Pigs)

    Animal activists have secretly filmed scenes at a South Australian piggery where workers beat, kick and ride sows as they artificially inseminate them.

    The footage and photographs taken at the Yelmah Piggery in Hamley Bridge, north-east of Adelaide, shows a female worker beating pigs with a paddle and a male worker riding sows around the pens and using one as a seat as he checks his mobile phone. Animal activists also claim to have vision of feral cats attacking and eating newborn piglets.

    The male worker takes a catheter attached to a large tube filled with boar's semen and thrusts it into the sow's  genitals, then rides around on the back of the sow holding up the tube as it drains into the animal.

    The workers repeatedly beat, kick and smack the adult pigs and hold down newborn piglets which squeal in pain as their ears are cut.

    Activists from Animal Liberation NSW spent days and nights wading through sewage and maggots in the stench of the filthy piggery to take more than 800 photographs and hours of footage.

    Other scenes show a sow which fell into its own waste pit underneath the pen, left to die in its own faeces and urine by the workers drain.

    A large group of feral cats which live in the piggery swoop on the more feeble of piglets born in the steel barred farrowing pens, or dead baby pigs dumped outside.

    Pieces of dead piglets litter the floor of the piggery and a worker using forklift dumps pig cadavers in a mass gravesite of decomposing carcasses referred to as the 'compost' heap.

    Sick and injured pigs are killed on site and dumped outside in the pit of rotting carcasses.

    'I was shocked by the number of piglets and pigs left rotting in an open mortuary,' Animal Liberation campaign director Emma Hurst said.

    'Wild cats were eating the carcasses. The bio security risk would be colossal.'

    Ms Hurst said practices at the piggery, including the 'mutilation of piglets without pain relief' are 'standard in pig farms across the country'.

    'There is no respect shown to these intelligent animals,' she said. When the activists found the sow stuck in the waste pit, they returned the following night to find its condition had deteriorated.

    'Workers had made no attempt to save her. She was left to die in a pool of faeces and urine. If it weren't for investigators contacting the RSPCA, she would have starved to death.'

    'Unfortunately we are not surprised. The moment these animals are viewed as nothing more than commodities, abuse appears to be inevitable.

    'We've seen this time and time again over the last few years with similar footage emerging from farms all over Australia.

    'These are industry-wide problems; it seems animal cruelty is endemic within the industry.'

    Chris Delforce who runs the website Aussie Farms, which exposes animal cruelty with graphic images and footage taken by animal activist groups said the Yelmah piggery was a 'standard Australian pig farm'.

    'Australia is touted as a global "leader" in animal welfare, but I think most people who see the conditions and practices of farming and slaughter would feel that there's nothing humane or ethical about it,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

    'For this reason these realities of modern farming are intentionally hidden from the public view.'

    Industry statistics from 2007 show that Australia had 675 piggeries with more than 50 sows each, which is likely to have shrunk to around 300 to 400 nationwide. The Yelmah piggery had 450 sows when it was last sold in 2009.

    Mr Delforce said his 'Aussie Pigs' campaign had closed down two piggeries after exposing them in 2012.

    'But since then the focus has been more on raising public awareness about the industry standards, to combat the industry's claim that any cruelty exposed is a "one off, rogue operator",' he said.

    'The RSPCA were notified about this facility three weeks ago as there was the sow who needed immediate help, trapped in the waste tunnel underneath the pens

    'They did go and get her out, and have been intending to do a full inspection since then but I'm unsure if that has occurred.

    'I don't believe that any of the material captured will lead to a successful prosecution or shutting down of this facility.'

    Tony Richardson's Yelmah piggery's owner defended his staff, saying they were well-trained, not cruel and  that practices like 'riding' the sows during artificial insemination were used to recreate actual mating behaviour.

    Mr Richardson told Daily Mail Australia that moving pigs around with a paddle, which was 'an industry recognised piece of equipment' was standard behaviour and that his staff were 'not hitting' the animals.

    'It has nothing to do with brutality or being cruel,' he said. 'Riding [the sows] is when w e assess the animal if she's still on heat and that's how boars mate and we mimic the boars' behaviour.

    He said the sow stuck in the waste pen 'must have escaped' and that the 'unauthorised' visit by the activists coincided with the RSPCA's visit to the piggery.

    'They have trespassed on to our property and may have placed cameras in the ceiling.'Mr Richardson said he wouldn't defend kicking an animal, but that he hadn't had the benefit of seeing the video taken by Animal Liberation.

    He conceded the property which 'is a very old piggery and we are currently renovating it' had a feral cat problem and 'we try to maintain control of the cats but it's a difficult thing'.

    Mr Richardson said carcasses were removed with a wheelbarrow and the outdoor pit of cadavers was filled over every 48 hours, but that recent fires has limited the number of composting areas available to the piggery.