Three farmworkers who abused pigs warned they face prison

Warning: This article contains graphic images that some readers may find upsetting.

A third farmworker has admitted abusing pigs following an undercover investigation on a farm in Lincolnshire.

Gavin Hardy, 39, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to protected animals when he appeared at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (31 January).

Troy Wagstaff, 30, of Chantry Lane, Grimsby, and Artirs Grogprkevs, 32, of Oak Avenue, Goole, pleaded guilty to the same charge last month.

See also: Activists target pig farms seeking to expand

Man preparing to kick pig

© Animal Equality

Animal welfare charity Animal Equality secretly filmed the men working at Fir Tree Farm, in Goxhill, north Lincolnshire, between April and May last year following an anonymous tip-off.

Hidden cameras caught workers kicking and hitting pigs, and jabbing them with pitchforks.

RSPCA prosecution

The charity passed the footage to the police and the RSPCA, who launched the prosecution.

All three men, who were sacked at the farm, were granted unconditional bail to be sentenced at the same court on 28 February.

Judge Daniel Curtis warned the men they could face custodial sentences. “You are all in danger of losing your liberty as a result of these offences,” the judge said.

Speaking after the hearing, Toni Shephard, UK director of Animal Equality, said the men had shown “an absolute lack of compassion” for the farm animals.

She added: “This is some of the worst abuse we have seen – it was relentless.”

Abused pig

© Animal Equality

‘Indefensible’ actions

The National Pig Association (NPA) has previously condemned the actions of the individuals depicted in the footage, describing them as “indefensible”.

Fir Tree Farm is owned by Elsham Linc – one of Britain’s biggest pig producers.

As a result of Animal Equality’s UK investigations, six farmworkers have now been convicted of cruelty.

In May 2017, a dairy farmworker in Somerset received a 12-week suspended prison sentence after investigators filmed him violently abusing newborn calves and their mothers.

In 2012, two workers were filmed beating piglets to death with a metal bar on Harling Farm in Norfolk. Both men pleaded guilty to cruelty charges and one was sent to prison for 18 weeks.