The Agriculture Ministry's deputy undersecretary in charge of food safety, Toomas Kevvai, called for intensified supervision of livestock keepers in light of undercover video footage that has surfaced in the media, allegedly exposing extensive violations in Estonian hog farms.
"This is a lesson for keepers of livestock that the consumer is not only interested in how meat looks in stores. More interest is being shown toward how animals are treated,” Kevvai told uudised.err.ee.
Kevvai said some of the hog pens shown in the video clips were inspected earlier this year and some discontinued operation. The conditions of the livestock have certainly been improved, he said. But Kevvai said he was surprised that, although the videos were filmed over a year ago, the authorities were not notified earlier.
The Veterinary and Food Board carries out inspections of hog farms once every three years, which Kevvai said is not often enough. "I'm sure the Veterinary and Food Board will in coming months take up additional responsibilities for more stringent inspections,” Kevvai said.
“Our situation has been such that, in the 1990s, Estonian agriculture basically wasn't capable of investing into the development of its farms. Active investments have only taken place in the last seven to eight years, when we have been able to use European Union resources. So far we have only been able to modernize perhaps half of our farms,” Kevvai said.