Fight against illegal intensive pig farm in Alentejo
PPL Causas
  • Green
  • Vale de Santiago, Odemira, Portugal

Fight against illegal intensive pig farm in Alentejo

Monte Alegre Association and Vale de Santiago need your help to continue our legal fight against an illegal intensive pig farm less than 400 meters away from the village, which ...

Monte Alegre Association and Vale de Santiago need your help to continue our legal fight against an illegal intensive pig farm less than 400 meters away from the village, which has been operating without license, permits or oversight since 1980.

Monte Alegre Association would like to welcome you to Vale de Santiago, a beautiful village with less than 300 inhabitants in rural Alentejo, South of Portugal. Vale de Santiago is home to Monte Alegre Association, as well as hectares of cork trees, sheep, birds, storks, bees, wild boars… Despite this natural environment, Vale de Santiago is suffering since the early 80s from the consequences of an illegal pig farm located less than 400 meters away from the homes in the village ( Since its foundation, this illegal farm has been growing without any control or accountability from a small pig farm with a few pigs to a class 1 intensive pig farm with over 4,000 pigs in over 5,000 m2 of illegal buildings.

Exemplo de porcas reproductoras quinta intensiva / Example of breeding pigs in intensive farm

In 2018 a group of neighbors from Vale de Santiago decided to join efforts in order to change things in Vale de Santiago. The first steps comprised negotiating directly with the farm owners, who agreed to make adjustments, if a certified company attested such illegalities. Based on the agreement, the group of neighbors reached out to the relevant authorities to assess the flagrant illegalities. However, what the neighbors received in response from the institutions only confirmed the collusion between the farm and public institutions.

Tired of this collusion, the neighbors of Vale de Santiago decided to hire a certified company in noise auditing, which after the relevant measurements, concluded that the farm wasn’t abiding by the current noise legislation (RGR and Report), which was then confirmed by the relevant public institution in this matter (CCDR email). Despite the agreement, when the neighbors shared the report with the farm, they replied that it wasn’t accurate, and that we, the group of neighbors, were acting in bad faith. This was 2021, and was very frustrating for the neighbors and the village. Since then, some of the neighbors have left us (either passed away since the majority of Vale de Santiago inhabitants are over 70 years old, or moved away) and others are trying to sell their properties (many of them unsuccessfully).

A group of us however decided to keep going and founded Monte Alegre Association, with the aim of changing the conversation from and informal group of neighbors, to a more institutional level. The Association aims to level the playing field in this David vs Goliath situation (important to note that the farm makes almost 1 million euros per year, just from this farm, and pays no taxes, license fees or fines). Since its inception, the Association continued investing heavily in additional assessments from certified companies and aid from specialized lawyers. Through this legal help, the Association has been able to start changing the narrative, legally verifying and proving all illegalities we knew existed (illegal borehole, illegal buildings, no business license…) as well as others we didn’t know of, which have been going on for over 40 years with no accountability nor control.

Despite all these proven illegalities, the collusion with local public institutions is preempting the Association from changing the situation once and for all, reason why we are reaching out to you, to seek your support to fund the legal advisory fees until July 2024, which has proven to be the only way to start changing the narrative. We at the Association believe that after six years of fight, we are close to taking this problem to a higher instance, out of the local collusion. This legal action is taking place in several fronts (borehole, constructions, noise, no license…) and we are hopeful that before the end of 2024, the farm will be legally required to abide by the law.

Your support however will not only help Vale de Santiago, but other villages suffering from big companies that take advantage of the lack of resources in rural areas to monitor illegal activities, or a fuzzy regulation that doesn’t protect citizens nor nature, but rather favors and even fosters illegalities like this one. Because you must remember, this is just one of the thousands of illegal farms, and therefore just the first step in a long path. This path, however, is an inevitable one, especially if we are to make the changes we need to make to save our planet as we know it.

Now is the time. Vale de Santiago, Alentejo, the world, can’t wait any more.

Vista aérea quinta ilegal Vale de Santiago / Aerial view of illegal pig farm in Vale de Santiago

About the author

Monte Alegre Association is an association founded in 2022 focused on the social and environmental protection of rural areas and their communities. The main objective of Monte Alegre Association is to promote sustainability, innovation and social impact in rural areas of Alentejo, through the development of economic and social activities.

Monte Alegre Association values are the following:

  1. Maximum social and environmental commitment;
  2. Maximum respect for human and animal rights;
  3. Maximum quality, efficiency and responsibility when implementing projects on the ground.

Monte Alegre Association objectives are the following:

  1. Contribute to the empowerment of rural communities by improving access to services and boosting social innovation;
  2. Protect and support rural communities, with a focus on women and children, ensuring respect for their rights and access to social services and facilities;
  3. Promote intercultural dialogue and exchange of ancestral knowledge and practices between the local community and the immigrant population residing in rural areas;
  4. Protect and ensure good water management in rural areas;
  5. Protect and ensure good management of forests, through training and reforestation projects;
  6. Protect and guarantee good rural and livestock practices, promoting extensive agriculture and livestock farming, management by small owners and the protection of animal welfare;
  7. Promote and finance energy sustainability projects, especially through the use of solar and wind energy.

Típico Monte Alentejano Vale de Santiago / Typical Monte Alentejano in Vale de Santiago

Budget and due dates

The amount requested will contribute to covering 50% of the legal advisory assistance expenses until the month of July 2024, right before the Portuguese judiciary system holidays. The remaining 50% will be covered by Monte Alegre Association. With your help we hope to take the farm illegalities to a higher instance and out of the collusion with local public institutions. Legal actions are taking place in multiple fronts, including illegal extraction of water from an unlicensed borehole, construction of 5.000 m2 of buildings without a license or permit (3.500 m2 of which above the legal limit established in Portugal, 1.500 m2 in this case), not abiding by noise regulation as per the report commissioned by Monte Alegre Association, and operating for over 40 years without a license. With your help in the multiple legal fronts, we are hopeful that before the end of 2024, the farm will be legally required to abide by the law.

Every euro counts, therefore, if you can only help us with 10 Euros or less, don’t doubt it and contribute with a non-conditional contribution. We will be 10 euros closer to the objective. In addition, with your contribution you will contribute not only to our legal fight against the illegal farm, but will also contribute to the livelihood of local beekeepers and local bees, in charge of producing the amazing biological honey or pollen provided as rewards depending on your contribution. And remember to choose NON-CONDITIONAL contribution, so we can access whatever support we receive by the end of the campaign, regardless of whether the 10.000 Euros objective is achieved or not.

Fri, 12/04/2024 - 11:31

Sun, 24/03/2024 - 15:38

We're now 20

We reached the first 20 backers. Let's keep up!

Mon, 04/03/2024 - 10:31

First five backers

We've gathered the first 5 backers. Hurray!

Campaign launched


37 members of the PPL community
support this campaign

  • 35
    new backers

  • 2
    recurrent backers

  • 7
    anonymous backers

Meet the people helping this dream come true