New Pig Welfare Code Draws Big Public Response

NEW ZEALAND - A new pig welfare code has drawn a big response from the public calling for an end to the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates in the pork industry.
calendar icon 26 April 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee released a draft version of the new welfare code for pigs in March.

It recommends restricting the use of farrowing crates to four weeks post-farrowing from the end of this year, reports Radio New Zealand News.

It also limits the use of dry sow stalls to four weeks after mating from 2013 and supports a complete phase-out of the stalls by 2017.

Committee chair John Hellstrom says more than 300 submissions were received on the code, with most supporting the banning of sow stalls and farrowing crates.

Dr Hellstrom says Prime Minister John Key was also sent more than 10,000 postcards calling for an immediate change in the industry.

The Pork Industry Board says if pig farmers are forced to give up stalls and crates in the next few years, it would cost the country $50 million per year.

Chief executive Sam McIvor says a report by independent consultants Nimmo Bell has found that if a ban was enforced by 2017, 14 per cent of pig farmers would leave the industry.

He says pig farmers are committed to phasing out stalls and crates but they do not want to be given a time limit.

The committee will now consider all submissions before deciding on a final version of the code to recommend to the Minister of Agriculture.

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