On 10th October 2022, the Regional Administrative Tribunal of the Lazio area (Lazio TAR) in Italy accepted the appeal against the killing of over 100 pigs and wild boars from the animal sanctuary Sfattoria degli Ultimi. The animals were set to be killed by the authorities because they fall within the red zone identified where all pigs will be slaughtered to control the spread of African swine fever. On 8th August 2022 the sanctuary, located north of Rome, received an order from the Regional Sanitary System ASL Roma 1 for the killing of the animals, but the sanctuary started a petition and appealed to the regional tribunal.  

Lawyers for the sanctuary argued that no swine fever infections had been detected at the sanctuary and the animals would stay there for life and not enter the human food chain. They also argued that the local administration had not adequately considered a European regulation 2020/687 that allows derogations from certain disease control measures and the obligation to kill in cases where they are “animals of high cultural, educational or genetic value”. The judge agreed and granted the appeal, so the animals will not be killed — unless the administration decides to appeal this decision at a higher court in the next 60 days, and wins.  

Angelita Caruocciolo, the lawyer of the Sfattoria, said the following: “We are happy with this result which we had hoped for until the last hearing, and which was obtained thanks to the correct reading of the rules, that the ASL had instead misinterpreted, violating the principles of administrative action even in cases as extreme as the protection of health from the African Swine Flue. The sentence shows, while acknowledging the complexity of the rules, that the ASL has taken an abnormal measure without carrying out an adequate investigation. This result, however, is only the first stone that the applicant intends to lay so that the rules on the management of the African Swine Flue are correctly applied by the Italian administrative authorities.” Giuseppe Calamo, a lawyer who followed the appeal, said to la Stampa, “It is a verdict of great importance, both constitutional and European, which should induce public administrations to consider with due attention the measures concerning animals.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.