The Centre of Animal Technology of the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Studies (CITA-IVIA) and MARM have honoured rabbit farmer Eduardo Pazos at the Annual Symposium of the Spanish Association of Rabbit Breeders with the best final productivity award.

Pazos’ farm in Beariz, Orense was one of 70 investigated and reported by international animal welfare organization Animal Equality for animal abuse.

Animal Equality investigators documented deplorable conditions in Pazos’ farm. A worker was taped saying: ‘We ask an awful lot of does because you have to counter the rise of feed, energy, etc.” “You have to push them, tell them to have more kits, you have to punish them.” “So they can produce, they are tricked with light and food.”

“That the rabbit industry has rewarded a farm investigated and reported by Animal Equality, in which we can observe deplorable conditions, shows how much our research is representative of the sector. This goes to answer the statements of Tomás Gómez, president of INTERCUN, who said the farms investigated by Animal Equality were not representative of the sector. That they awarded one of the farms contradicts his own words and makes the sector were clear,” said Javier Moreno, co-founder of Animal Equality.

After their two-year undercover investigation throughout 14 communities, Animal Equality filed 74 complaints for animal abuse, irregularities regarding safety and breach of health regulations against 70 rabbit farms, 2 slaughterhouses and a veterinarian.

The farms were chosen at random with the sole purpose of corroborating their suspicions: “The brutal mistreatment to which animals are subjected is common on farms and are not isolated cases.”

Animal Equality listed their key discoveries:

– Farmers kill rabbits by hitting them against the ground.

– Rabbits are thrown alive into containers.

– Animals with open wounds and infections without receiving veterinary care.

– Dead animals in a state of putrefaction inside the cages.

– Aggression among rabbits due to overcrowding.

– A veterinary hitting a rabbit against the ground and recognizing that it is animal abuse.

“For the meat industry animals are merchandise exploited to maximize economic profit. Therefore, is common to find animals with wounds that will not receive any veterinary care to save costs. Farmers will also beat the animals to death as it is an inexpensive method; or throw them to the containers while still live because they are not economically profitable,” explains Moreno.

The abusers are now facing fines of up to 1,200,000 euros or up to 1 year imprisonment and disqualification from working with animals for a period of up to 3 years. Facilities also face possible partial or definite closure.


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