Pork Industry: Factory Farming Fund Unnecessary

NEW ZEALAND - The New Zealand Pork industry says a $2 million fund set up to fight factory farming is unnecessary as independent animal welfare audits are already carried out on the country's pig farms.
calendar icon 8 November 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The Animal Justice Fund (AJF) was launched by the animal rights group Save Animals From Exploitation (Safe) today after Kathmandu founder and philanthropist Jan Cameron gave $2 million to the fund.

Ms Cameron, who founded Kathmandu in 1987, is a prominent supporter of animal welfare having previously given A$5m (NZ$6.4m) to set up a similar fund in Australia.

3News.co.nz reports that Safe director Hans Kriek said the fund meant the organisation could prosecute farmers who committed offences against animals.

"Ms Cameron is a passionate supporter of Safe's factory farming campaigns and has, over the last four years, donated more than A$35m to various human and animal-related causes in Australia and New Zealand," Mr Kriek said.

The fund would act as a national watchdog for factory pig, chicken and battery hen farms and would also help fund promotional campaigns, he said.

Rewards of up to $30,000 would be offered to farm workers or insiders and other industry insiders who exposed animal cruelty that led to a successful prosecution or a significant animal welfare outcome.

"Safe may even challenge, in the High Court, welfare codes that allow ongoing abuse of animals," he said.

New Zealand Pork chief executive Sam McIvor said the fact that the industry had established independent auditing of the country's pig farms meant the fund was not necessary.

The results of the first audit were released on Friday and 115 out of 123 pig farms had passed an independent welfare audit.

Farmers covering around 95 per cent of New Zealand's pig production put themselves forward for the audit, which was developed by Massey University and peer reviewed by the Melbourne University, Mr McIvor said

Farms which passed the audit can label their meat as "100 percent New Zealand Pork, PigCare Accredited" from December.

By purchasing pork with the PigCare Accreditation, customers could be assured the animals were well cared for, he said.

In future farmers who did not pass the audit would not receive accreditation and would not be able to use NZ Pork labelling.

Director of the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand Michael Brooks said animal welfare standards were high in New Zealand and both the egg laying and chicken meat industries abided by standards which were set by the Government.

Mr Brooks, who also serves as the executive director of Egg Producers Federation, said these standards were based on scientific evidence and while "Safe may not agree with their decisions" the process by which they were set was thorough.

Suggestions that egg and chicken farmers often broke the law were false.

"We do not support anybody who is in breach of the Animal Act."

Safe has been a strong critic of factory farming in New Zealand and made the headlines last year when Mike King, a former spokesman for the pork industry, spoke out against the factory farming of pigs.

Ms Cameron reportedly received $A280m (NZ$350m) when she sold Kathmandu in 2006.

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