Ten rescued pigs killed at sanctuary in Italy

Animal News: Ten rescued pigs killed at sanctuary in Italy
Two pigs at the Cuori Liberi sanctuary, picture was taken a week ago, credit: Instagram Cuori Liberi sanctuary

Authorities in Italy ordered the killing of ten pigs at the Cuori Liberi sanctuary in the province of Pavia. The animals, all rescued from farms, were killed on Wednesday. 

Local media reported that hundreds of activists from all over Italy arrived at the sanctuary to try and protect the pigs but were stopped by police. 

To control the spread of African swine fever (ASF), the Italian government has ordered the killing of all pigs -sick and healthy- in areas where ASF is identified. So far, 34,000 pigs have been killed. 

Some pigs at the sanctuary had the disease, and some were healthy. Animal welfare groups pleaded with authorities to spare the lives of the ten pigs as they were isolated, had no contact with other animals and were not destined for the food chain. 

They highlighted the potential for some pigs to recover from the virus -pigs can recover from ASF – and emphasized a compassionate treatment of the animals.

However, law enforcement proceeded with the cull on Wednesday. “Seven police vans for ten pigs. What a ridiculous country,” the sanctuary posted on social media in the morning. “Police squads to kill domestic pigs.”

“They entered, ignoring the requests of activists and animal protection associations,” Italian animal welfare organization OIPA said, expressing concern about the widespread view of pigs as objects rather than sentient beings.

“Sanctuaries are not farms. They are spaces freed from the deadly grip of capitalism and its livestock production structures. They are places where we live and care for each other in common species, certainly not a place where we stand by and watch as institutions try to regain control of these freed individuals, with a massacre,” the sanctuary said.

“Our hearts are broken for the rescued pigs who were murdered in their home,” animal rights group Animal Save Movement said. “It is important to remember that the pigs at the sanctuary, both sick and healthy, were completely quarantined and no risk to public health.” 

“The activists fought until the last moment to save them. Our hearts go out to the pigs, the sanctuary, and the activists who stood up for the pig residents,” they added.

In footage circulating on social media, unarmed activists are observed positioning themselves between the police and the pigs, seemingly in an effort to shield the animals. The activists appear to face aggressive police responses.

“It’s the virus of profit that has now infected the heads of these veterinarians (who arrived with police to kill the animals) to a system that doesn’t cure but… it must produce at all costs, with all the suffering that I have been showing for years because the system hides it, hams “made in Italy,” Italian journalist Sabrina Giannini said. 

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