Further Serious Welfare Issues Alleged at New Zealand Pig Farm

NEW ZEALAND - The country's pig industry is under fire after a TV investigation into conditions at a pig farm near Christchurch. As a result, one animal rights group is calling for a ban on farrowing crates.
calendar icon 2 July 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

An animal rights group believes shocking footage showing squalid and cruel conditions at a Christchurch pig farm is "just the tip of the iceberg", reports Stuff.

The pork industry is under fire after TVNZ investigation into a Christchurch pig farm.

The footage, filmed earlier this year, showed severe overcrowding of the pigs, with sows in a farrowing crate so small that her newborn piglets were squashed to death, according to the report. Other piglets lay dying next to their helpless mother, while other animals had infected eyes and obvious sores. It also showed a dead pig that had been left to rot among live pigs and dozens of rats running over the animals.

Animals right group, SAFE, says the Government had failed these animals and called for a ban on farrowing crates.

SAFE's head of campaigns Mandy Carter said activists from Farmwatch visited the farm last year and filmed the animals living in squalid, cruel conditions. The footage was referred to SAFE, which laid a complaint with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

She said significant non-compliance with the pig welfare code was found by MPI inspectors and a number of pigs were in such bad shapes they had to be killed immediately.

A few months later, MPI declared that improvements had been made and the farm now complied with the code. MPI promised to undertake regular monitoring to ensure the ongoing welfare of the animals, Ms Carter said.

She continued: "And in April this year, the activists decided to visit the farm again and what they found was even worse."

Animal welfare laws were weak and were failing to improve standards of factory farming, she said.

The Green Party is calling for an independent commissioner for animal welfare after discovering the "horrendous conditions" on the farm.

According to Stuff, animal welfare spokeswoman, Mojo Mathers and Farmwatch spokesman, John Darroch have both expressed the view that the MPI is not the right body to be monitoring animal welfare on farms.

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