NZ Welfare Group Welcomes UK TV Show

NEW ZEALAND - A TV programme on pig welfare, shown in the UK last month, is to be aired tomorrow (24 February) in New Zealand, and welfare campaigners say it should be a wake-up call for local pig producers.
calendar icon 23 February 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Scoop reports that the television programme, 'Jamie Saves Our Bacon', should be a wake-up call for New Zealand consumers, says the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The programme exposes the cruel conditions in which much of the pork and bacon consumed in the United Kingdom gets produced. Presented by celebrity chef and food campaigner, Jamie Oliver, the programme is scheduled for screening on TV One on 24 February.

"This programme does not provide New Zealanders with any cause for complacency, as, if anything, the situation here is even worse than in the UK," says the Royal New Zealand SPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.

"Sow crates and farrowing stalls, which severely restrict the movements of sows before and after they have had their piglets, are banned in Britain but are still legal here. In addition we import very large quantities of pig meat from countries where these cruel forms of confinement are the norm.

"As much of the processed pork in New Zealand is made from cheaply produced, imported pig meat, anyone who buys bacon or ham here will almost certainly be purchasing meat produced in grossly inhumane, intensive conditions. There is no country of origin labelling required for pork, although a good rule of thumb is that the cheaper the product, the more intensive the farming, irrespective of whether the product comes from New Zealand or overseas.

"A good way to make sure you are purchasing humanely produced meat is to look for a label identifying it as 'free range' or 'free farmed'.

"Where available, the best guarantee of all that your pork or bacon has been produced in cruelty-free conditions, is the presence on its packaging of the blue-and-white 'SPCA approved' label. Introduced last year, this label provides absolute assurance that the SPCA's own rigorous animal welfare standards have been met," she says.

Robyn Kippenberger adds that continued use of sow stalls and farrowing crates in New Zealand means that we are falling far short of international best practice with regard to humane farming.

"We are running the risk of acquiring a reputation for inhumane and outdated farming methods. This could have a severe impact on a wide range of New Zealand exports to key markets. Unfortunately we are judged by the whole of our animal welfare. Such judgements are not breed specific and can taint our otherwise excellent reputation.

"By choosing to buy humanely-produced pork and bacon, New Zealand consumers can say 'No' to cruelty and can also send producers the message that anything less than international best practice, just isn't good enough!" Robyn Kippenberger told Scoop.

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