Pig farmer wins against undercover TV film

13 July 1999

Pig farmer wins against undercover TV film

A YORKSHIRE pig farmer has won a ten-month battle to clear his name after a TV programme accused him of contravening animal welfare regulations.

Stephen Fall complained to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission after an undercover Private Investigations programme was screened on BBC2 last August.

The programme, which featured filmed reports by members of the public, included an item made by Ian Dickinson about the standards of care in pig farming.

Material for the programme was secretly filmed at the Hope Town Pig Unit, a farm owned by Mr Falls parents, where Mr Dickinson had previously been employed.

It showed a trailer of dead pigs, accused Mr Fall of overstocking young pigs, and claimed that Ministry of Agriculture reports showed he was incorrectly doing his job.

Mr Fall complained to the Broadcasting Standards Commission, saying the programme was unjust and unfair and had unwarrantably infringed his privacy.

He said the dead pigs were kept in the trailer so they was inaccessible to dogs, in accordance with MAFF guidelines, before being taken away for rendering.

Pigs shown in supposedly cramped conditions had not been overstocked but had been crowded into one area by the programme-makers for a more effective shot.

Furthermore, sawdust shown at another the farm in programme was not being fed to pigs as claimed by Mr Dickinson but was used to provide fuel for a boiler.

Mr Fall said this last misrepresentation had been symptomatic of the way programme-makers had approached the programme.

The animal rights organisation Viva, which helped Mr Dickinson obtain the footage, said it stood by the claims made in the programme.

But an apology from the BBC to Mr Fall will be broadcast on BBC2 tomorrow (Wednesday) and published in the Daily Mail.

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