On one side the animal rights activists, on the other the police. In the middle nine pigs destined for slaughter due to the alarm that has been felt in the province of for months Pavia for the swine fever. A very delicate situation because it is a viral disease – contagious and lethal for animals – which puts farms and the resulting supply chain at risk. But not only that: an investigation was opened a month ago because a farmer and a veterinarian did not report the first cases of suspicious animal deaths that occurred at the beginning of August, thus causing an outbreak of swine fever. In the Zinasco shelter “Progetto Cuori Liberi” for a few days several animal rights activists had been guarding ten pigs to prevent them from being killed. But precisely in Zinasco, after the first cases reported in June, two outbreaks of the disease were detected.
The intervention and tension with the activists – Police and Carabinieri arrived on site with about ten vans and several cars, in riot gear, cleared out the garrison. There were moments of great tension before the order was carried out Ats Pavia. During the police attacks, three activists were injured: the 118 operators treated them on the spot. Once the picket was removed, the ATS vets were able to enter. One of the pigs had already died, probably due to swine fever, the others had been given a lethal injection.
The ATS explained that “the few pigs still present in the African swine fever outbreak diagnosed in early September” in the refuge were killed. The plague “has affected forty pigs present at the association, most of which have already died in recent days” and that “the virus affects pigs and wild boars and It is very resistant in the environment. Humans can become a vehicle of transmission and spread the infection throughout the territory if strict biosafety rules are not respected (such as changing clothing and footwear when entering and exiting farms and risk areas). African swine fever eradication activities are essential to combat viral circulation and safeguard all pigs, whether bred for food or kept for the purpose of petting.” For this reason, since mid-August, over 33 thousand pigs have been killed in eight different outbreaks in the Pavia area.
Animal rights activists: “We just asked for more time” – Before the outbreak was found, there were 38 pigs – he explains Sara d’Angelo, coordinator of the Network of free animal sanctuaries in Italy – Then they found an outbreak of swine fever after the death of two pigs. All it takes is one dead pig to order the stamping-out, the killing of all the others. We asked for tests, anything, to increase biosecurity, a permanent seizure, to sit at a table but nothing. Some pigs have always been well, others have become ill. The refuge is 3 kilometers from the farm of that gentleman who did not report the death of 400 pigs from the plague. After the four hundredth anniversary and after having sent them to the slaughterhouses of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna he began to say that perhaps they had the plague. The sewage from these farms was spilled in the fields. People die from the plague, but it doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone and so we tried to save them. We wanted – continues the activist – simply to keep them alive until the end. If necessary, euthanize those who are ill. We just asked for more time, in reality some of them were fine and were trying to escape from those who were trying to take them. During the night, a little pig called Freedoom had died and there were nine remaining pigs”.
“Violence, people being pulled” – The activists present “denounce with force the unprecedented violence exercised by a deployment of law enforcement forces of impressive dimensions on peaceful and defenseless people. Everyone present was jerked, thrown to the ground, beaten, kicked. Some protesters suffered injuries and required ambulance intervention. He was not allowed to come near. Others were loaded onto trucks and taken to the barracks and in these same minutes a sympathetic garrison is calling for them to be released. After having swept away even the last resistance – continues d’Angelo – the ATS veterinarians entered and proceeded to kill the 9 pigs. The shelter managers and trusted veterinarians were prevented from being present to ensure that the criteria for correct euthanasia were respected. The fear is that away from prying eyes, the killing was carried out by chasing the terrified animals into the enclosures. The lifeless bodies were finally thrown with a bulldozer into the bed of a truck for the collection of special waste”.
The activists also denounce “the gratuitous devastation that was produced inside the refuge, where all the fences and structures were completely destroyed. Also very serious is the fact that with an ongoing epidemic some of the staff who intervened and entered the shelter were not wearing any protective equipment to prevent them from bringing the virus.” What we have experienced is something absolutely unheard of – concludes d’Angelo –. We will do everything to ensure that the shame of this day does not go unnoticed and above all so that it is not repeated in any other liberated space. We will not allow the animals that live in shelters, torn away with difficulty from the food production system, to become victims of it again.”