On Tuesday, the Brescia Court of Appeals affirmed the initial ruling against three staff members of the Green Hill breeding facility in Italy. They were originally charged with cruelty to animals in their care, and with unjustifiably putting down some of the dogs, resulting in jail sentences between 12 and 18 months. The Court will release their motivation three months from now.
Green Hill, a beagle breeding facility in the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, has been the victim of a relentless animal rights campaign. During a protest in 2012, many people raided Green Hill, damaging the facility and stealing animals. Protesters were initially arrested, but after the defending lawyer’s inspection of the facility with the support of consultants from the Lega Anti-Vivisezione (LAV, ‘anti-vivisection league’), as well as poorly defined claims from Legambiente (an environment and cultural heritage campaigning group) and other animal rights associations who maintained poor treatment of animals, the local court closed down the Green Hill facility and allowed the campaign groups to rehome all animals.
The Green Hill company was cleared of all charges in 2013, but the accusations have since been directed against four individuals working for Green Hill. All previous inspections, including the ones performed by the Italian Ministry of Health, were declared as not having been properly conducted. The last inspection mentioned above, performed with the support of LAV-associated consultants, is now the only one under consideration.
One person was declared innocent while Green Hill’s director, a veterinary surgeon and the European manager for Marshall BioResources, Green Hill’s mother company, were sentenced to 12-18 months in jail, a judgment EARA strongly condemned. With the latest appeal judgment, these sentences have been confirmed. Green Hill’s lawyers have announced that they will take the case to the Supreme Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest court of appeal.