Code given “top priority” by Minister delayed – pigs continue to suffer

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 pm, November 2nd, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: animal welfare - Tags: ,

Tonight Campbell Live showed new footage recently shot by animal rights activists on four farms in Ashburton, Greytown, Blenheim and Kumeu. Six months on from the Mike King and Sunday exposé and it’s clear nothing has changed in the appalling treatment of pigs in this country.

Not surprisingly, spokesperson for the Pork Board Sam McIvor refused to even comment on the footage. Instead, he continued on with the usual rhetoric about how they’re “phasing down” the use of sow crates and farrowing crates. Campbell did a great job of cutting through the bullshit and forcing McIvor to admit that even after the completion of their “phase down” in 2015, sows will still spend at least 16 weeks of the year in crates where they can’t turn around.

McIvor then moved on to trying to justify the use of crates. His claim that farrowing crates are necessary to prevent sows lying on and killing their babies doesn’t stack up. A comparative study between Sweden and Denmark (Sweden has banned farrowing crates, while Denmark hasn’t) on the mortality rates of piglets found no significant difference between the two countries.

He must also realise it doesn’t stand to reason that sow crates are “necessary” despite only 45% of NZ farmers using them, and that farrowing crates are “necessary” despite 33% of farmers managing to do without them.

Despite losing the battle of public opinion 6 months ago, only one of McIvor’s lines was new – in trying to differentiate between NZ and other countries, he makes out that NZ is wonderful because when sows aren’t in crates they’re often outdoors. Never mind that even at the completion of the Pork Board’s “phase down”, most pigs will still be stuck indoors their whole lives. While some mummy pigs might be allowed outside while not pregnant or nursing (others are kept in group housing indoors), the pigs that actually end up as meat will spend the whole of their short lives overcrowded in fattening pens on concrete or wooden-slatted floors.

Nothing much has changed on the political front either. Despite Minister of Agriculture David Carter instructing NAWAC in May to “give this review the highest priority in its work programme’ and that he ‘would like to be able to issue a new code of welfare for pigs by the end of this year”, NAWAC haven’t even begun to review the code. Hans Kriek from SAFE says:

SAFE understands the review of the pig code by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee is well behind schedule. We doubt we will see any sign of a draft code this year, which will mean over 20,000 pigs in crates will continue to suffer until next year, if not longer.

Carter can’t play dumb and pretend he doesn’t know what’s happening anymore. He could quite happily get this issue off the agenda by legislating to fix up the loopholes in the Animal Welfare Act that allow these practices to continue.

You can help put pressure on the Minister and Supermarkets that stock factory farmed pork products.  Take SAFE’s pledge against pig cruelty and order a free consumer action pack.

15 comments on “Code given “top priority” by Minister delayed – pigs continue to suffer”

  1. Pigs are suffering for the same reason dairy cows and their calves are suffering, and chickens are suffering, and horses and sheep and deer and goats and all the rest of the animals we use are suffering, right this second, whether they are in crates or out of them. Use = suffering. “Humane” Farming is an oxymoron. Go vegan!

  2. Larry 3

    Sam IcIvor deserves to be held indoors in a narrow crate for 4 months every year without exercise or free movement, and then be forced to make a speech to the nation on his experiences of stress, pain and depression. Only then will this farmer of 5000 pigs have any empathy or insight into pig suffering.

    His only real concern is to make the industry as profitable as possible regardless of animal welfare issues. His message in an email sent to his board of directors after the last TV expose in June was that the Pork Board must deliver a message to consumers that they can have confidence in pork and that they were re-launching an advertising campaign to that effect.

    Sam McIvor believes that by ignoring the animal welfare issues and furiously promoting NZ pork, consumers will soon forget the whole disgusting issue.

    Thank goodness we have people like Mike King, organisations like SAFE, and media like TV3 to keep this issue alive and in front of us.

  3. It is hardly surprising that the pork board and the minister are liars. As George Bernard Shaw stated, anyone who will not hesitate to abuse animals will certainly not hesitate to lie about it.

  4. Julia M 5

    Sam McIvor needs to be put in a crate for 16 weeks, 3 times a year and then I would love to hear how he likes it,

    Am going to email him now telling him he looked hilarious on the TV lastnight shaking and sweating! Jerk

  5. fizzleplug 6

    Personally, I love pork.

    Wonder if Mike King has returned all that money he got for promoting pork yet?

    • felix 6.1

      You do know that loving pork has absolutely nothing to do with whether the pigs are treated badly or not, don’t you?

      Just checking.

      Also, I wish Billy were here.

      • fizzleplug 6.1.1

        Absolutely. Also, didn’t MAF clear the farm that Mike King and the nutters invaded of any wrongdoing?

        • rocky

          Yes moron, MAF did clear that farm. If you read this post on MAF’s report, you’ll realise that the “nutters” claimed from the beginning that there was nothing unlawful about the treatment of pigs on that farm. The law is the problem here.

    • bRIAN 6.2

      [rocky: Deleted – any more comments by you on my posts will be deleted.]

  6. Has Mike King donated the same amount of money he made from being a pork spokesperson to an animal charity??

    • rocky 7.1

      I think him fronting SAFE’s campaign as he used to front the Pork Board’s campaign is far more effective than any money he could donate.

  7. Homo Domesticus 8

    Friends, what do you expect? I believe David Carter is one of the most incompetent buffoons ever to set foot in Parliament. How he gained a Cabinet post is a mystery. Carter does not care about animal welfare, like most of the present cabinet he cares only about business welfare. Recently, Carter has been involved in the spouses’ travel scam, but in his case the more travel he does the better. If he is out of the country he cannot do any damage.

    Homo d.

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