Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story, the New Documentary Movie by Viva!
Hell on Earth
Viva! are releasing a new documentary movie “Hogwood: A Modern Horror Story”, telling the story of Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire and revealing the true nature of pig farming in the UK. Over the past three years or so, Viva! have conducted a series of intensive campaigns to investigate and expose the terrible abuses at Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire. The vegan activist group, which tends to direct much of its effort toward highlighting the atrocities being committed on factory farms, began investigating Hogwood Farm back in 2017. The Viva! team infiltrated the Red Tractor approved farm, in which approximately 15,000 pigs are being imprisoned, in June of 2017, and what they uncovered were scenes of pure horror. The pigs were clearly being wilfully neglected. They were being forced to live in conditions of abject squalor, covered in dirt, maggots, and excreta. By the thousand, they were confined to massively overcrowded enclosures and were expressing strongly pathological behaviours indicative of severe maltreatment and abuse. Dead and dying pigs and piglets were found among the living, in some cases partially cannibalized. The footage and photographs captured on the mission are deeply shocking. Viva! quotes one of its investigators as commenting on one particularly pig who was obviously very severely injured, “her flesh bitten from the bone and the blood pulsating onto the wooden slats beneath her, I was mortified”.
A report was issued to the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency), Trading Standards, and Tesco themselves (Hogwood’s main customer), all of whom, disgracefully, dismissed the complaint, stating that there were no issues on Hogwood Farm. In fact, Tesco, seemingly with no sense of shame whatsoever, even had the audacity to issue a statement claiming that they “care about animal welfare”.
The animal rights organisation then demanded that Tesco stop purchasing from Hogwood Farm. However, Tesco simply refused to do so, publicly denying any welfare issues, and simply carried on buying their meat, ignoring the hundreds upon hundreds of protests. Viva! returned to Hogwood in 2019. Even though it had been equipped with sophisticated and quite drastic security measures, reminiscent of the Gulag, the team once again managed to infiltrate it and take a considerable quantity of video footage. The terrible abuses were still ongoing, just as before, and a wealth of additional evidence was collected. Some video even shows farm workers kicking piglets and striking them with tools, as well as committing other similar violent abuses.
In 2019, the “Dispatches” documentary team from Channel 4 then attempted to prosecute a smear campaign against Viva!. They produced and broadcast a shameful piece of pseudo-journalism in which they attempted to present Viva! as some kind of extremist group that spends its time harassing “poor, innocent farmers” like Brian Hobill, Hogwood’s owner. It has not been made clear why they did this. Were they paid by someone? Do they support animal cruelty? So far, they have not issued an apology or explanation for their behaviour.
Red Tractor, infamous for their complacent attitude to animal cruelty, were as nonchalant as usual, claiming to have carried out an “inspection” of some sort, only to conclude that everything was apparently compliant with their so-called “standards”. The intransigence of these organisations, complicit in violent animal exploitation and wilful neglect, ultimately led to protests across London as well as a petition that gained 77,000 signatures. This persistence from Viva! paid off, and in August 2019, after ignoring this reprehensible barbarity for more than two years, Tesco finally agreed to stop purchasing from Hogwood.
It is clear from this that Tesco does not care one iota about animal welfare. Their sudden change of heart was not motivated by a serious issue coming to light, but rather by the threat of bad publicity and the potential consumer and/or shareholder backlash. If they cared, they would have taken action when evidence was first presented to them back in 2017.
For many, this case has come to embody the struggle for the recognition of animal rights in general, and the difficulty which surrounds any attempt to prevent animal cruelty. In this case, persistence was victorious over apathy, greed, and obstinance. Having said that, even though this farm lost its key customer and certifications, it has not yet been shut down, and it and many other farms like it continue to torture and abuse animals all over the world. Nevertheless, this is progress, and Hogwood was an important battle in the war against animal exploitation, and an important victory for the campaign for animal liberation.
Hogwood: a modern horror story
Viva!, who do so much good work for the recognition of animal rights issues, have recently produced an incredible new movie about this horrific, yet momentous, episode in its history, the story of Hogwood Farm. Whilst the movie focuses on the story of Hogwood, it also analyzes the state of pig farming in the UK in general. The movie is narrated by the respected vegan actor and activist Jerome Flynn.
The new movie, “Hogwood: a modern horror story”, was about to premier on the 26th of March 2020 at the House of Commons, although due to COVID-19 this is going to be postponed. Due to a surprisingly high demand for tickets, Viva! are also currently trying to determine whether additional screenings might be possible.
- The official Hogwood movie page at Viva!
- Hogwood Farm Fact Sheet
- Peta on pig farming and the Red Tractor scheme
- The original Hogwood Horror Farm movie at IMDB
- Veganuary on Hogwood and Rosebury, (more Red Tractor animal abuse)
- Peta’s investigation of an Indiana pig farm (video)
- Violent beating and stabbing of pigs and other abuses at Fir Tree Farm