In recent weeks, Animal Aid has visited ten English pig farms in five counties to see whether the pig industry's claims of high welfare were borne out in reality.

Instead of the idyllic images of straw-filled pens amidst leafy trees and bathed in sunlight, we found squalor, filth, death and disease.

Where the industry portrays pigs growing up outside with acres of space to roam, we found dead and dying piglets living in utterly barren, overcrowded pens.

In the promotional images, pigs can root around in the earth. In reality, these inquisitive, lively and intelligent animals often had nothing but a metal chain - and sometimes nothing at all - to stimulate them and help fulfil their basic instincts.

While pig farmers plead for the future of high welfare' farms, footage and photographs on Animal Aid's website reveal the wretched truth: that welfare standards on typical British pig farms are abysmally poor.

KATE FOWLER-REEVES, head of campaigns, Animal Aid.