Norway’s top state prosecuting agency (Riksadvokaten) has ordered a preliminary probe into whether farmers raising pigs for the pork industry have knowingly violated the country’s animal welfare laws. The probe comes after an NRK documentary that used hidden cameras to record conditions at more than a dozen farms in Norway.
The documentary aired in June shocked a country that likes to think its farmers treat animals well. It showed video of publicly unidentified farmers refusing to tend to sick and injured pigs, mistreating and even castrating them without the use of anesthetics, and subjecting their animals to poor living conditions.
Norway’s economic crimes unit Økokrim has been told to probe whether conditions are bad enough to launch a full investigation. “We’ve been asked to examine whether criminal acts have taken place, and whether there’s reason to launch a full investigation,” Hans Tore Høviskeland, leader of Økokrim’s environmental crimes unit, told NRK on Tuesday.
The probe was welcomed by meat producer Nortura, which also acts as market regulator for Norway’s highly taxpayer subsidized farming industry that enjoys tariff protection against foreign competition. State officials and embarrassed farmers’ organizations have also called for a crackdown on farmers who treat animals badly.