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Documents Reveal New Zealand Pork Defiant

by 5m Editor
21 June 2010, at 5:37am

NEW ZEALAND - The pork industry has again come under scrutiny after documents released under the Official Information Act reveal the industry will not accept a ban on pig crates and wants to confine pregnant sows in crates for half their lives.

National animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the New Zealand Pork Industry Board (NZ Pork) just won’t compromise, despite overwhelming public opposition to sow crates. SAFE is also highly critical of NZ Pork’s new consumer labelling campaign that is likely to deceive the New Zealand public.

“SAFE is appalled that NZ Pork continues to oppose a ban on cruel confinement systems. NZ Pork continues to lobby to be permitted to keep sows in crates for eleven consecutive weeks during each pregnancy cycle. If the government accepts this position, nearly half a sow’s life will be spent inside a cruel crate. This is totally unacceptable and in breach of the Animal Welfare Act,” said Hans Kriek, campaign director of SAFE.

In recent developments in Australia Rivalea, the country’s largest pork producer, has stated it will cease using sow stalls for all of its 45,000 sows (more than all the sows in New Zealand) by 2017. Last week Tasmania announced a ban on sow stalls, also by 2017. This was followed by the Australian Pork industry initiating industry-wide consultation about a nationwide voluntary ban on sow stalls.

“Instead of banning sow crates to significantly improve pig welfare, NZ Pork is about to release what can only be described as a dubious marketing gimmick in an attempt to convince consumers the pig industry is ‘welfare-friendly’,” Mr Kriek said.

SAFE says NZ Pork will soon announce a new scheme that will label pig products as ‘100 per cent New Zealand Welfare Approved’.

“This labelling scheme does not guarantee pig welfare at all, as farms with sow and farrowing crates will qualify to use the label. This misleading label will continue to keep consumers in the dark as to what production methods have been used and is nothing but a deceitful ploy to increase sales,” Mr Kriek said.

SAFE calls on consumers to continue to boycott factory-farmed pork as the industry is demonstrating it cannot be trusted.