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Pig Farming Expose – A personal perspective

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, June 30th, 2014 - 161 comments
Categories: activism, animal welfare, farming - Tags:

Last night the Sunday show screened an expose of a Christchurch pig farm using footage provided by Farmwatch New Zealand. I was part of the investigation which resulted in this show and thought I would provide a more personal perspective on this story. I will also do my best to respond to comments on this post over the next few days so feel free to ask any questions.

First, here is a video which our organisation produced which gives our own account of this footage and investigation.

Secondly, a bit of context in order to clear up attempts by the minister and the pork industry to side step involvement in this story.

The Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy initially refused to go on camera for this story and when he did said the following: “I’m disappointed that this information hasn’t gone to MPI straight away. As soon as I became aware of the property I said to MPI you need to go and inspect the property.”

But MPI have already been made aware of the conditions at the farm and following our 2013 investigation MPI visited the farm and provided remedial training to staff. In August 2013 MPI visited the farm again and found that the farm complied fully with the code of welfare for pigs. In October 2013 we were told that

There are arrangements in place for ongoing monitoring of the property.

MPI have been actively involved in this farm and worked with them to the point where the buildings and care of animals were up to the standard they require. It is ludicrous then for the minister to suggest that after all of this we should once again be turning to the Ministry for Primary Industries in order to protect the pigs on this farm. The reality is that what we found is fairly typical of pig farms across the country. This farm does not seriously breach animal welfare legislation or codes of welfare because the legislation was written by and for the industry.

No doubt there will be promises to tidy this farm up and we will be told that this is a one off – a rogue farm. This despite the fact that at least two animal welfare inspectors and a registered vet had worked with the farm to get it up to standard.

Publically the industry has said this is “not a typical farm”. Privately though, the pork industry has gone to extreme lengths to shut this story down, telling the Sunday show that the footage I had filmed was faked in a number of ways. They told the Sunday that it was the activists who released the rats to make them look bad, yet the farmer himself then admitted to Sunday that he had a big rat problem. They also alleged that we: staged footage, altered footage, looped footage, and moved live and dead animals. On Friday I spent close to two hours at TVNZ proving the authenticity of my footage. It is a testament to the Sunday show that they have continued with the story despite this pressure from the industry.

The industry has already gone into damage control by attempting to place blame on the farmer who owns the farm, but they cannot deny that they have been aware of the conditions on this farm for over a year now. In fact, in 2013 New Zealand Pork responded to our investigation by saying that:

Both MPI and PigCare™ investigators found the farm to be below acceptable standards and began processes to fix the issues. The auditing and investigation processes that are in place had already identified the issues on-farm before the ‘Farmwatch’ break in.

It is worth noting here that when PigCare™ investigators found “below acceptable standards” on the farm, they only downgraded its rating from Green to Amber. I’d hate to see what a Red rated farm would look like. Apparently Amber rated farms are still able to continue using the PigCare™ label which in the light of day will hopefully display to people what a sham their whole PigCare™ label is.

In the same document they talk about ongoing monitoring across the industry in order to maintain high standards. The reality is though, that factory farming is inherently cruel and that no standards will make up for this. NZ Pork responded to the impending story by sending an email to pig farmers telling them to clean their farms up and to be on the lookout for us. Cleaning a farm just involves washing away the faeces, leaving pigs lying on cold wet concrete rather than on dirty concrete.

These sorts of tactics are typical of this industry, in 2010 NZ Pork paid private investigators Thompson and Clark to put a GPS tracking device on a friend’s car. This was in order to identify which farms we were visiting, and presumably to catch us while on a farm. Following this, I and several of my friends, had private investigators (paid by Thompson and Clark) show up at our homes and workplaces serving us with trespass notices for the farms that they knew we had already visited.

This is an industry which is terrified of the public finding out what goes on inside their farms and which will engage in any kind of dirty trick to avoid responsibility for what goes on in their farms.

NZ Pork is also describing our investigation as a “break in” despite there being no damage done to the farm. My response is to ask, if we were not “breaking into” these farms then how would the public know what was going on? It is only through the work of a small group of dedicated individuals that we have any understanding of what goes on in factory farms.

The ministry for primary industries said in October 2013 that:

There are arrangements in place for the ongoing monitoring of this property.

I can only imagine that the ministry were referring to FarmWatch because no other monitoring seems to have taken place. This is not work that I or the others I work with enjoy doing, frankly it is traumatising, difficult, expensive and risky to carry out these investigations and I am looking forward to the day that I do not have to do them anymore.

Every single time we expose one of these farms the response from the industry and the minister is the same: that this is an isolated incident and is not representative of the industry as a whole. But the thing is, I have been visiting factory farms across the country for almost a decade, and in every one I have found animals that are suffering. Some are cleaner and more modern than others, but every single one involves the intensive confinement of animals. Public opinion has clearly shifted on factory farming; I think we can all agree that no animal should be kept in these kinds of conditions.

It was my desperation that nothing was being done to help these animals which lead to me chaining myself to a pig farm in 2010. Sadly, almost exactly four years later I was once again walking through a pig farm which was as bad as anything I have ever seen. Public attention has been galvanised on this issue but this has not translated into any real gains for these animals.

No political party has made factory farming a serious election issue, and neither Labour or National have agreed to phase out or end factory farming. That means that I am going to have to spend the foreseeable future giving up my nights and putting myself through emotional torment in order to give these animals the voice that they so desperately need.

Why should the only protection for these animals come from a small group of volunteers putting their safety and freedom at risk? Why should we continue to keep pigs and other animals confined in conditions that we would never accept our own pets being kept in?

Regardless of what you are able to do, please consider supporting our organisation in the work that we do. We all pour a lot of our own money into this work and are constantly broke as a result. Equipment and travel make this expensive work to carry out and any support will be gratefully accepted.

– John Darroch


lprent: See also Animal Agenda

Animal Agenda Aotearoa is a campaign to persuade New Zealand’s nine main political parties to adopt animal-friendly policies for the 2014 general election. The Agenda has 10 main points covering law changes needed to improve the lives of animals, including banning factor farming, imposing harsher sentences for animal cruelty, not testing party pills on animals and then banning the use of animals for testing.


161 comments on “Pig Farming Expose – A personal perspective”

  1. goodonya..!

    ..you are doing good work..

    ..much respect to you..

  2. i wd be interested to see the reaction to this video/bacon-reality-check..

    ..(‘realities’..’common across the industry’..according to the activists..who know..)

    ..of stephanie rogers ..

    ..and those others who find this subject to be such a comedy-mine..

    ..one to be played for the ‘laffs’ to be had..

    • vto 2.1

      I thought this post may have been written by you mr ure … such is your relentlessness on issues of animal consumption… you weren’t on the Sunday show at all?

      • phillip ure 2.1.1

        no..i’m not the only one fighting this fight..

        ..(there are more of us every day..)

        ..and i haven’t actually seen the sunday-item yet..

        ..( i don’t really need to..i already know..)

        ..and as for my ‘relentlessness’ on this issue..

        ..i shd tell you that a reader here telling me they have gone vegan in part because of my writings/posting of this information/argument here..

        ..reduced me to tears..

        • vto

          that last bit of your reply there is an interesting one. I think many people get affected by what people write here. Especially those matters where posters tend to go on and on about it. I think it gets people to thinking. Certainly pour moi it has been the case that unthinking brain cells have been reignited into action by people’s thoughts posted on these pages ..

          • phillip ure

            “.. I think it gets people to thinking…”


            ..that’s why i come here..

            ..that’s why i started the news-aggregation website…

            • bad12

              ”News aggregation website” now that is gut bustingly funny Phillip, is that how you describe Attention Whore,

              Phillips own little echo chamber sounds about where this aggregation is…

      • Lanthanide 2.1.2

        It obviously wasn’t written by him since it obeys normal rules of grammar.

    • Why bother, phil? I can say “yes, I choose to eat meat but of course I don’t want animals to be treated cruelly” and then you and your friends can jump on me because “but how can it not be cruel to murder poor defenceless animals?” and you get to feel really awesome because you’re so much better than me … lather rinse repeat 🙄

      • Psycho Milt 2.2.1

        Don’t spoil Phil’s fun – how’s it worth his while having to eat vegan food the rest of his life if he doesn’t get to express the warm feeling it gives him of moral superiority over the rest of us?

          • phillip ure

            (i actually asked you this question over on open-mike..but it is more appropriate here..)

            ever thought of making yr feminism not so species-specific..?

            ..(y’know..!..not just all about you/humans..?..)

            ..and opening yr heart to those suffering-sows..?

            ..and their babies..?

            ..that is a serious question..

            ..as i see animal-slavery to be both a feminist and a socialist-issue..

            ..not one to be just ghettoised/sneered at as ‘animal-rights’..

            ..as is now done by so many self-regarding as ‘feminists’ and ‘socialists’..

            • Stephanie Rodgers

              Actually, phillip, I find it utterly fucking grotesque when people compare women to animals. Kinda part of the whole sexism problem, you see, and a key reason I will never, ever support the work of chauvinist organisations like PETA.

              • oh..!..i see..

                ..i don’t like peta because their (oxymoronically-named) animal-shelters are just slaughterhouses..

                ..they have a kill-rate in the high 90’s percentile…of the animals they ‘take in’..offer shelter to..

                ..but i guess yr objections are ‘cos of their use of the unclad female-form..

                ..i do confess to being somewhat puzzled at your seeming inability to see these cruelties done to animals as a socialist/feminist-issue..in any shape or form..

                ..and not only that..for those who do to be viewed as ‘utterly fucking grotesque’..(!)

                ..cd u unpack that a bit for us..?..

                ..why that reaction..to that suggestion..?

                (and..are you a teenager..?..)

                • The Al1en

                  “i see animal-slavery to be both a feminist and a socialist-issue”

                  What a load of bollocks.

                  “.and not only that..for those who do to be viewed as ‘utterly fucking grotesque’
                  why that reaction..to that suggestion..?
                  are you a teenager..?”

                  You mean apart from being insulting and condescending?

                • If you refuse to think about why comparing women to animals is both insulting and buying into patriarchal values, I’m not going to waste my typing trying to educate you.

                  • oh..!..ok then..i didn’t realise that was the subject under discussion..

                    ..and of course i feel you are having a total over-reaction to peta attempting to get people to relate to their message..(with those featured all volunteering..so who are you to call them out..?..)

                    ..and it is a total false-argument you are constructing there..

                    ..you have the totally wrong end of the stick..

                    ..and you seem to be drowning in/blinded by yr own rote-rhetoric..

                    .you get all hysterical about celebs volunteering to pose for peta..

                    ..yet laugh/jeer at any concerns shown about the actual real physical pain//killing of slave-animals..?

                    ..that is one both seriously mono-theistic and also disconnected view of the world you have there..

  3. Paul Faulkner 3

    Don’t you admirable people have any support from SAFE? I ask because I see they were interviewed for the Sunday story.

    • lprent 3.1

      Apart from me, all of the people I know who were involved in putting up this post are involved in SAFE to one degree or another.

      • JohnDarroch 3.1.1

        Aside from letting them use my photo’s I haven’t ever really done much for SAFE – don’t think I’ve even been a paid up member!

        Love their work and do collaborate with them at times though 🙂

  4. Paul 4

    Watch the film ‘Earthlings.’

  5. Harry Holland 5

    From a consumer point of view, I have never heard of PigCare but I am certainly fore-warned now to ignore that marketing label should I ever come across it until they decide to toughen up. They seem to have a policy of issuing ‘Corrective Action’ warnings for 3-6 months rather than immediately ‘firing’ a farm from the PigCare brand, so I hope they follow up rigorously after that period. Personally I only buy ‘free-farmed’ and I can only hope that branding doesn’t turn out to be a sham also.
    Clearly we need stronger legislation. The obvious objection would be that imported pig products would out-compete local farms if they are forced into more expensive methods. This raises a much wider question of exploitation of both animals and human workers across a range of industries. Because we have higher standards and costs, many industries have been replaced by imports from countries where the costs and standards are lower. I am guessing it would be difficult to legislate to ban or tax imports from countries or companies with poor employment or animal welfare standards. At least we can enforce minimum local standards and embrace this kind of consumer education in the hope that anyone who can afford it will choose free farmed, fair trade products etc.

    • “.. Personally I only buy ‘free-farmed’ and I can only hope that branding doesn’t turn out to be a sham also…”

      ..i find the ‘free-farmed’ label to be an example of greenwash..

      ..’cos the realities are..that yes..their (much-shortened) lives are more comfortable than those depicted in the video..

      ..but on these farms..apart from that..the same stuff still happens..

      ..the baby calves are taken from the mothers..(so consumers can get the ‘organic’-milk meant for them..)

      ..and those calves are still fattened..and then sent to the slaughterhouse..to become ‘veal’..

      ..and if the calves are fed actual milk while being fattened..they become ‘milk-fed-veal’..sold for a premium price to (often smug/self-congratulatory) ‘i only eat free-range!’-consumers..

      ..and of course a cow can live for about 22yrs..

      ..but them..like any other animal on these ‘folksy-farms’..they have their premium production period..

      ..(usually up to about five yrs old..they get ‘flogged-out’ from the serial-insemination/births..)

      ..then..of course..they are also slaughtered..

      ..and these ‘realities’ also apply to all that other ‘free-range’ flesh…

      ..from all those other ‘folksy-farm’ animals..

      ..’folksy-farms’ are just a greenwash over the stark realities of how these animals are (mis)-treated..

      ..nothing more..

      ..the evils of animal-slavery must end…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      I am guessing it would be difficult to legislate to ban or tax imports from countries or companies with poor employment or animal welfare standards.

      No, it wouldn’t be. Just a law that says that we won’t import from any country that doesn’t maintain standards equivalent or better than our own. It has the opposite effect of present ‘free-trade’ agreements because it causes a race to the top rather than a race to the bottom.

  6. Tautoko Viper 6

    Thank you for advocating for these animals which are forced to live in disgusting conditions. Turning a blind eye is condoning- be it at bullying, domestic violence, child sex and abuse of animals. Animal activists are not terrorists; they simply expose the disgusting side of the humans who have no respect for sentient beings other than themselves. Farmers who are ashamed to show off their farm animals and living conditions, need to examine their own consciences.
    What sort of human being can inflict misery for the sake of money?!!!!

    • i agree you can ask that last question of the farmers..

      ..but it is the consumers where the buck actually stops..

      ..the people buying/cooking/eating the foul-spoils from these deeply-evil ‘industries’..

      ..(and even the proven cancer-causing properties of flesh/fat/bye-products..(bowel-cancer anyone..?..)

      ..even that reality seems to be of no concern to the eaters of these animals..)

      ..what would it take..?

      ..perhaps one of the consumers cd answer that..

      ..what wd it take to make you stop..?

      • Tautoko Viper 6.1.1

        Agreed, Phillip. The activists have to put the evidence in front of the consumers.
        Eaters of bacon- Do you condone this maltreatment of animals?
        Buying from such a farm = condoning
        Why not pay a little more for free range as the bacon will taste better when your conscience is clear?
        We have to get used to the idea that the cost of an item includes factors such as sustainability of farming to minimise pollution,
        chemical free organic farming methods, fair trade, and humane farming.
        However, strict animal welfare rules must be enforced as well.

        • JohnDarroch

          The reality is that our animal welfare legislation does not protect animals from the type of treatment we revealed last night and over the past 5 years.

          While consumer pressure has some effect it will only be through legislation that we will get rid of factory farming. We need to put pressure on the main political parties to make this a priority.

        • phillip ure

          the free-range stuff still gives ya bowel-cancer..eh..?

          ..and environmentally..it still fucks the planet…

          ..the only difference is slightly better conditions for part of the shortened/brutalised lives of the animals you eat…..

          • bad12

            As opposed to the shortened/brutalized lives of the factory farmed vegetables you choose to eat Phillip???…

            • phillip ure


              • The Al1en

                Worry not, we see you coming Philip.

                • bad12

                  Phillips sole view of any view that opposes His own, a look in the mirror and His above exclamation…

                  • The Al1en

                    I find it hard to digest, and I don’t mean the meat in the sandwich, that he’s more empathetic with animals than humans.
                    A skewed outlook never does anyone any favours.

                    • bad12

                      Lolz, the second fillim on Maori TV the other night gave a great exhibition of one such where an afflicted sole thought more of His dog than other Humans,(i must admit to being a little ‘that way’ myself),

                      Phillip seems to have made a series of ‘value judgments’ surrounding Humans/Animals/Plants based upon the ‘idea’ that plants cannot feel nor communicate such feelings…

                    • David H

                      Mind you Al1en, after meeting some Human Beings I can see why he’s a little empathic with Animals. I mean just look at Nathan Guy. Dumber than the day is long.

                    • The Al1en

                      Although I was brought up to never trust anyone who’s mean to animals, I learnt from Frankie Howard who said it best about people like Guy “It’s cruel to mock the afflicted”

            • minarch

              are you serious ?

              your going to go with that angle ?

              very sad

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      What sort of human being can inflict misery for the sake of money?!!!!


  7. karol 7

    Oh. Gross. Warning – do not watch that video while eating breakfast.

    I’ve never been that ken on pig meat.

    I think that video put me totally of it for good.

    Just, an unbelievable level of abuse of the animals.

    • Sorry for putting you off your breakfast! I was eating dinner the other night when I watched this for the first time so I can empathise.

      I believe that once you see pigs as individuals who can suffer then it doesn’t really make sense to continue eating them.

      As an aside I learnt yesterday that “free range” pigs who are raised for meat are only outside for the first 5 weeks of their life – the rest is inside. And I have been to slaughterhouses which kill free range pigs and the screams of those pigs as they go to slaughter have stuck with me.

    • Chooky 7.2

      Well it is good this video is up!….(dont think I will watch it though…i hate any form of animal or human cruelty…war , cruelty to other humans, institutiionalised child abuse and sexual abuse as with the Catholic Church etc)

      ….all i know is that the pig farms I have seen around here are free- range and the pigs are very well treated….so NO it doesnt put me off eating bacon and pork from free-range NZ pigs…i would not eat foreign pig meat or anything less than NZ free-range …)

      …i dont feel guilt as some on this site would like all meat eaters to feel…and abuse them when they disagree and dont comply with vegetarianism or veganism…holier than thou?

      btw my piggie is free range and she has not been eaten and never will be…she is now 11 years old and lovely and piggie

      ( why Jews and Islamics think pigs house the devil and are dirty is beyond me…a classic case of projection of ones own sins on to an animal imo….the Pagans loved their pigs!…and also ate them!….i know one guy, a meat eater and Pagan , who let his pet pig come inside and it would get into bed with his son…in the morning the pig was in bed and the son was on the floor….)they all found it very amusing

      • phillip ure 7.2.1

        i see you are using yr usual high standards of deep/coherent thinking..

        ..you ‘hate any form of animal cruelty’..

        ..but are quite happy for it do be done out of your sight/sensibilities..

        ..and to eat the results from that ‘animal cruelty’..done in yr name…

        ..and you feel you are on some kind of moral high-ground there..?


        .disconnect-city..here i come..!

        ..just down at the end of the freeway-of-denial..

        ..’it’s so tasty..!’

      • The Al1en 7.2.2

        “i dont feel guilt as some on this site would like all meat eaters to feel”


        ” ‘animal cruelty’..done in yr name”

        One nut cutlet’s cruelty is another person’s animal husbandry, which has been practised for thousands of years since the first domestication of animals.

        Crates: 2010 legislation.

        “Use of sow stalls on New Zealand pig farms is to be limited to four weeks after mating, in 2012, and prohibited by December 3, 2015”
        “Public opinion has forced the Government to ban sow crates, despite huge pressure from the Pork Industry Board to keep them indefinitely,” Green Party Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley said.”

        • Chooky

          @ The Allen….yes I have huge admiration for Sue Kedgley and those who have forced changes on the Pork Industry!

          ….ideally all pigs should be free range imo …no sow stalls at all! ….but each have their own pens and runs….bring on 2015 when all stalls are prohibited at any stage of the pigs life…this already is the case on pig farms i have seen….and it can only do the NZ Pork Industry good…as well as the pigs!

          • The Al1en

            With the added bonus that in one years time, Philip loses the ammo to his pig cruelty gun.
            Thanks SK.

          • phillip ure

            factcheck 4 u there..chook..

            ..sue kedgeley achieved s.f.a. in the advancement of animal-welfare issues..

            ..name one…..

            ..and of course..kedgeley is also a ‘folksy-farm’ fan..

            ..she likes to think they were ‘happy’ before being killed so she could eat them..

            ..she..like many others..assuages her unthinking/non-guilt in that way..

            • The Al1en

              “kedgeley is also a ‘folksy-farm’ fan..

              ..she likes to think they were ‘happy’ before being killed so she could eat them”

              Do you have a direct quote to link to? Or is it one of your made up quotes?
              As has been pointed out, “you do not do your cause any good” with disingenuous attributions.

            • George

              People like those involved in SAFE and Farmwatch have been building alliances, showing rather than preaching, and pushing for substantial but gradual change.

              Not s…elf-ri…ghteo…us vega…n alienatin…g peo

              …ple fr
              ..om d
              g g..


              • yes..the incrementalist-argument/p.o.v….

                ..and safe..bless them..!..are known for that approach..

                ..i wandered off from there after finding out..(some yrs ago)..that their main campaign of the time was getting slightly larger cages for chooks..

                ..i asked:..is that it..?..

                ..was told ‘yes’..

                ..and so wandered off..

                ..you will note that even in this case..they are really just pushing the ‘folksy-farms’-argument..

                ..they aren’t striking at the heart/core of the issue..

                ..which is humans eating animals..and their bye-products..

                ..safe still have the animals in slave-mode..just in slightly more comfortable cells..

                ..which is really the main argument against the incrementalist-approach..

                ..you achieve s.f.a..change little if anything…

                ..and the same question cd be asked of safe as was asked of sue kedgeley..

                ..cd you show us something you have achieved..?..in animal-welfare terms.

                ..for all these years of being there/effort..?

                ..(but for all that..i did drop some coins into the collection-box of the safe person @ pak ‘n save’ mt albert yesterday..

                ..and exchange pleasant/encouraging words with her..

                ..but really..safe are kinda like the labour party of the animal rights movement..

                ..’not wanting to offend’ far too many people..

                ..meaning you don’t look there..for any real change..)

  8. bad12 8

    i had to laugh at the ”patsy clip” shown as part of the program where the TV had obviously sought and been given permission to go to the pig farm and film what was ”supposedly” the little pigs in their ”normal” living conditions,

    My opinion, having in a previous life got to know quite a sizable tribe of little pigs, being the piggery boy at Her Majesties Invercargill Borstal,(now Invercargill Prison), says that the whole clip of the little pigs shown on the fresh straw was carefully stage managed,

    Had the little pigs been present upon that hay for any time other than for the specifics of filming them, the hay, golden fresh in the clips would have been piled up in complete disarray and not neatly spread across the concrete pad as shown in the TV clip,

    What you will see if you re-look at that television footage is the little pigs, all standing there on the hay,(surprisingly just standing), a number of the pigs are turning their heads from side to side which in pig(the language of),is a statement of what the hell is this,

    i doubt any of that particular tribe of little pigs have ever been privy to fresh straw befor(any straw for that matter), little pigs who regularly have the privilege of fresh straw go absolutely mental in it,

    Little pigs who have regular access to fresh straw are like four year old kids given free reign in a bouncy castle, the fresh straw doesn’t remain neatly spread on the concrete pad for more than a minute as the little pigs pile it up, burrow through it and fight each other with mad abandon among the piles,

    The little pigs i seen standing on the fresh straw i seen on the tv last night shaking their heads from side to side were in fact saying ”what the fuck is this shit” having never seen fresh straw befor,

    More lies about building and food, happily brainwashing the nation with the aid of the perfect device, the flashing yellow and blue light of your personal TV…

    • Haha I was wondering about that straw too – to be honest we didn’t fully explore the farm – we got a bit freaked out so stayed near the back so I can’t say whether that was normal or not.

      I think the most interesting thing for me was that the model farm was using farrowing crates (mums in cages where they can’t move for 5 weeks) and the shots of the mums looked like they were off a SAFE ad – and this was their absolutely best farm.

      If NZ pork had nothing to hide they would let us and other independent organisations visit their farm during daylight hours rather than forcing us to sneak around at night.

      • Tracey 8.1.1


        Are freedom farm pigs only free for the first five weeks of their lives too??

        • phillip ure

          how many ‘weeks’ wd make it ok 4 u to eat them..?


          • phillip ure

            and if we were back in ending human-slavery days..

            ..you wd have been in the ‘good-slave-owners’-camp..eh..?

            ..(‘but they don’t beat/whip them..!’..)

            ..the similarities/echoes are impossible to ignore..

    • Roy 8.2

      I worked on a pig farm that used the deep-litter system once. We added a big round bale of straw to each pen each day. There was no need to spread the straw. We just took the plastic wrap off it and left the pigs to it. They spread it evenly throughout the pen within a few hours and had a great time doing it.

      • bad12 8.2.1

        Lolz Roy, of all the farm animals i have spent time with i would say that the little pigs display their emotions better,(it might be the confinement to the pens that allows us to see them more as individuals),

        Back when my job was the welfare of the tribe it was all square hay bales, the anger the little pigs displayed if i tossed their bales for the day in and left the string on was quite a laugh, as was the efforts of the dominant pig in the pen when it came time for cleaning out to stop me taking the pile of hay it had sequestered in a king of the castle manner from its mates in the pen…

    • minarch 8.3

      you really love dropping you prison “credentials” dont you !

      who got the top bunk ?

  9. bloody hell..!..i have to steel myself and say something good about bob jones..

    ..he has appeared in an anti-factory-farming ad on the telly..

    ..tho’ i can temper that praise..

    ..as i am picking he is quite ‘relaxed’ about the products/animal-flesh from ‘folksy-farms’..

  10. George 10

    The website for Farmwatch, including details of how to donate, is here:


    • lprent 10.1

      I also added it to the post this morning, along with the sunday programme link and a featured image for the front page.

  11. Ennui 11

    For a counter argument against these foul livestock practices I suggest watching the Tudor Monastery Farm series (Probably now up on Youtube????)

    I am not even going to start defending my carnivorous habits or try and become something I am not by giving up meat. I suggest that when oil is gone and industrialism runs down more of us will be farming, and we will have direct and close animal contact. If we treat an animal as a stock unit (as opposed to being an creature intimately interwoven with our life) then we don’t have to think about its condition, or see it suffering from nasty industrial farm practices. It is harder to kill something you have been close to, nurtured etc, to do so requires some respect for the creatures place in our system, and respect for what the animal gives (its life). Harder to ignore its conditions whilst alive.

    For the record I kill fish, rabbits and birds regularly: there is a single set of rules: take only what you need, take no pleasure in the killing, and thank the creature.

    • “.. and thank the creature…”

      ..how fucken sick/twisted is that..!

      ..is that to make the animal feel better..?

      ..or you..?

      ..and ‘take what you need’..

      ..what fucken self-justifying bullshit is that..?

      • Ennui 11.1.1

        So Phil. just to be really esoteric, when you pull that plant out of the ground and put it in your mouth how do you feel? And don’t give me any bullshit that plants are not alive in the way vertebrates are. I would say you are quite happy to kill that plant to stay alive, but I doubt you would think of thanking anything, maybe staying in some form of touch with your ecosystem. So howzabout you tell me of any living thing on earth that does not consume nutrient and energy from other organic life forms?

        If you cant get your head around how complex food chains work, and you make yourself some kind of superior life form, well that’s indicative of your level of bullshit.

        • phillip ure

          hah..!..the screaming-plant excuse/self-justification..

          ..that bad-person is fond of that one too..

          ..it’s as batshit-crazy from you..as it is from him..

          • bad12

            So you are saying Phillip that plants do not have feelings nor a means of communicating things like fear???,

            The links are at 13.1.1, instead of abuse, how bout a logical explanation that counters what the science says about plants having feelings, memory, and, in some cases a means of communicating with each other…

            • phillip ure

              the above ‘but-don’t-plants-cry/scream too?’ argument..

              ..is one often presented by defenders of animal-slavery..

              ..the crux of it being that if plants ‘cry too’..?

              ..well..we had just may as well continue with the animal-slavery..

              ..’cos..what’s the difference..?

              ..i’ll leave the reader to judge the validity of that argument….

              • Dave

                You know, I get really sick of the moral superiority of the vegan movement. I fully understand the anger you fell on behalf of your animal brethren, I really do, I have witnessed enough cruelty on various farms that my family have either lived or worked on. It pains me to see it, as it would any normal person who witnessed it firsthand. But how dare you assume just because you don’t eat flesh that you are somehow morally or ethically superior to me or other omnivores. It’s a bullshit angle to attack this issue from, it switches people off and does nothing to further your aims.

                That being said, the plants feeling pain argument is plainly ridiculous. As well as that, a cow has a usable ‘career’ of around 10 years on average, from my experience anyway, I’m willing to be corrected on that count with some cited evidence.

                The reason I could never be a vegan or vegetarian is that a lot of the ways to eat protein without meat does not really do it for me, it must make me such a morally bankrupt person to feel that way


                • “..But how dare you assume just because you don’t eat flesh that you are somehow morally or ethically superior to me or other omnivores..”

                  ..cd u show me where i have ever said/written that..

                  ..just because this is the reason you/stephanie etc. attack me for for making these arguments..

                  ..does not make it so..

                  ..i am arguing to try to end the sufferings of animals..

                  ..and to alert people to the fact they are likely really upping the ante for the odds of them/their children getting bowel cancer..

                  ..and that the carnivore diet fucks over the planet..

                  ..isn’t that enough..?

                  ..those words you claim i use..i have never used..

                  ..i don’t even need to go there..

                  ..the three-legged stool of my arguments is more than enough to be getting on with..

              • bad12

                In other words Phillip, and as usual, you fail to present a debate, you simply dribble shit from some self appointed moral high ground that exists in your mind only,

                Plants you would have to admit are living entities whether you allow them in your mind the ability to cry or scream, and attempting to debate cruelty around a position that requires the entity being killed to emit cries or screams befor they are considered worthy of any consideration in a debate such as this is simply as thick and as stupid as i believe you to actually be,

                Fish for instance appear to have no ability to cry or scream, notice how i use the codicil there Phillip of ”appear”,

                i apply such a codicil because fish may well have an ability, just as plants may well do also,to cry and/or scream and it is the fact that we as the humans have no means of recognizing such emotions in those plants and fish which leaves us with the belief that they do not possess these emotions…

      • Rosie 11.1.2

        phil. People will always eat meat. If they’re going to do that, doing it Ennui’s way is preferable to mass industrialised slaughter. “Thanking the creature” indicates there is a level of compassion, an exchange of gratitude for the life of the animal.

        He also said “take only what you need”. His actions as a fisherman is in direct contrast to the habit of commercial fishing fleets trawling the ocean for all that lives in it and then dumping dead fish back into the ocean – a tragic and unsustainable waste.

        • phillip ure

          just like people said:..’we will always have slaves’..

          ..with the same cultural (how cd we live/run farms without them?) and economic-reasons/justifications..(our economy is built on their backs..we will face economic collapse..!..you are crazy to suggest ending slavery..!)..

          ..in fact..looking back at records of the emancipation of slaves/that fight..i found it quite surprising how the ending animal-slavery arguments just echo the ending human-slavery arguments..

          ..on/from both sides of the argument..

          (..and of course the millions of vegetarians on the planet..(india..?.)..makes yr ‘People will always eat meat.’..a nonsense in fact..)

          ..and funny story..!

          ..the ‘folksy-farms’ argument/justifications from now..

          .. is just an echo of ‘the good slave-owner’ arguments/justifications for the monstrosities committed then..

          • phillip ure

            but rosie..i will also counter my own argument..and agree with you that (some/many) ‘people will always eat meat’..

            ..and the best news on that front..(in animal-welfare terms)..is the current race that is on for the holy grail of high-quality laboratory-developed meat..

            ..that carnivores will be unable to differentiate from ‘the real thing’..

            ..(and of course this will also see our main export industry shrivel and die..why import from nz..with all the attendant environmental/financial-costs..when you can make as good..or better..

            ..in a big warehouse/w.h.y. in a local industrial estate..?..)

            ..this will be the best news for the animals..

            ..and should be here soon..

            ..then there will no excuse/reason to torture/abuse/kill animals..just ‘cos you want to eat flesh..


            ..doesn’t that marketing-meme just roll off the tongue..?

            ..can’t you see that selling well..?

            • Roy

              You are naive beyond belief if you believe laboratory-grown meat will end the killing of animals.
              Despite decades of searching for alternatives, mammalian cells grown in the laboratory still require either fetal calf serum or fetal foal serum as part of their growth medium. This means that laboratory-grown meat will require very large quantities of serum collected from fetal calves or fetal foals, which means either the killing of many cows in late pregnancy, or many mares in late pregnancy. Doyou really think that is more humane than killing steers and wethers?

              • i am talking about lab-meat not using those cruel..and expensive..methods..

                ..that is the ‘holy-grail’ i am talking about..

                ..there are mountains of money to be made there..

                ..for the winners of the race..

                • Roy

                  There is no such lab-grown meat. Mammalian cells cannot be grown without fetal serum. The lab-meat you are talking about is, like the Holy Grail, completely mythical.

          • Rosie

            Midge, may I call you Midge, phil? (First thing I thought of when I saw your name)

            In a nutshell (please excuse the use of a source of vegan power food term) we can’t compare the enlightened and karmically minded Hindu’s with our own – based -in -Christianity western society, were we regard humans as being at the top of the chain instead. Animals and “lesser”(e.g slaves) humans be damned, the smug and righteous will rule.

            We’re not catching up to the Hindu’s any time soon. In the 21st century workers are still fighting the fight started in the industrial revolution. We are enslaved to the corporates just as the factory animals are, hence “people will always eat meat”, in our society at least, and in my view.

            And the lab meat, you ask, will it be a seller? I dunno eh. The meat eaters I know, I can imagine would be very sceptical about consuming something so unnatural. And if they’re teetering on the edge of making decisions about abandoning meat consumption wouldn’t they just go vege anyway? I just don’t understand the meat substitute concept. Give up meat but desire a meat flavoured/textured thing?

            (Oops, say me who made a Sunday vegan roast last night!) Now I’m the one countering arguments………

    • Chooky 11.2

      Ennui +100

    • minarch 11.3

      “thank the creature”

      you going to brutally slaughter the beast, dont thank it , thats just f**king callous really , theres plenty of other stuff to eat, its not like the animal actually needs to die

      at least have the guts/empathy to do the job quickly and properly dont stand around wringing your hands and thanking the animal ,

      if you cant stand the heat (screams) , then get out of the kitchen (slaughterhouse)

  12. Tiger Mountain 12

    Meat is definitely still murder.

    Human duality is part of it, we are rutting beasts with a developed overlay of denial and explanation. Butchers & supermarket meat displays are like walking through a morgue when it comes down to it.

    I eat little meat anyway, but even non meat eaters have to navigate the food industry. Support animal rights and do your best to reduce your animal intake is all I can say.

  13. Ad 13

    I have moved over the last two years to a fish-only meat diet – and that’s about the limit of any righteousness I will likely ever muster.

    Inside a decade we will drive past those hulking rural abbattoirs and wonder at the scale of death we have industrialised. Drystock farming seems to be going the way of the wool industry – and that on the whole is a good thing.

    One of the values that surely must be part of a drive towards a value-added economy is sentience.

    • goodonya for no longer eating land-animals..

      ..but you do know that fish have central-nervous systems suprisingly similar to ours..don’t you..?

      ..so..if you can imagine what it feels like to get a hook through yr mouth/in yr stomach..

      ..then being dragged out of yr environment..

      ..to drown in oxygen..or get yr head mashed-in..

      ..this is what yr meal goes thru b4 it reaches yr plate..

      ..my shedding of flesh-consumption was a gradual process..with fish the last to go..

      ..and how that happened was i was at a resaurant in mt eden..that had been closed for a private party..

      ..and we were smoking poisonously strong weed..and i was ripped off my tits..

      ..as was my practice..i had ordered my only option on the menu..the fish-dish..

      ..so there i was..eyes bleeding out onto the tablecloth..when they delivered my fish-dish..

      ..and it was a whole fish..with the glassy-eye still staring at me (accusingly?) from the plate..

      ..i started laughing..and the person next to me said:.. ‘what’s so funny?’..

      ..and i said:..’i think i have just given up eating fish’..

      ..it’s the little things..

      • bad12 13.1.1

        Yes but imagine for a moment those vegetables being cruelly and brutally ripped from the ground as if they have no feelings,

        Do Plants Have Feelings-The amazing life of plants-viewzone,

        Do Plants Think-

        • Ad

          But they are in a vegetative state, ba-dum tish

          • The Al1en

            ParSNIP that in the BUD, or bad jokes will SPROUT up all over the place.
            LETTUCE please think twice and LEAVE it out.

        • Tracey

          yikes, imagine if phil had to give up the bud cos its sentient!

          • phillip ure

            wouldn’t i just have to say ‘sorry’ to that bud..?

            ..and to take no pleasure from killing it..?

            ..and to only take what i need..?

            ..isn’t that how it works..?

            • bad12

              Not according to the value set you have put on display repeatedly Phillip, plants are obviously ”living things”, you decry other’s killing of ”living things” especially where they gain pleasure from the flesh or other bodily parts of these ”living things” but when it comes to ”you” the ”living things” that you choose to take pleasure consuming are all good,

              The definition of hypocrisy is encompassed in the paragraph above…

            • Tracey

              not by your own standards, no. I kmow i am a hypocrite on this issue phil.

      • Ad 13.1.2

        Veganism is child abuse.
        Everything gives you cancer.
        Everything feels everything.

      • Ennui 13.1.3

        .and we were smoking poisonously strong weed..and i was ripped off my tits..as was my practice. Fabulous Phil, must explain the syntax,

    • lprent 13.2

      Remind me not to talk to you about the concentration effects in ocean food chains. Especially when eating carnivores.

  14. Rosie 14

    Hi John,

    You really need to be commended and respected for the very important work you do. You go that extra mile to help improve the lives of factory animals where many of us can’t bring ourselves to – the point where we can go no further for various reasons, including perhaps fear of the authorities, and as you point out in your post, the emotional torment. It’s a sign our our backwardness in NZ that you need to do this and that political parties are reluctant to face up to the ugliness of factory farming.

    While I haven’t eaten pig meat for 30 years, I do feed our cat a variety of raw natural meats, which sometimes can be Freedom Farms pork mince (she has to avoid dark meats because of her kidneys) and despite the apparent higher standard of welfare on FF farms I feel uncomfortable about being a “pork purchaser”. Pigs are such emotionally sensitive and intelligent animals as you will know. They are such adorable and affectionate characters

    If it wasn’t for people you like you I doubt there would even be suppliers like Freedom Farms though, as the public would remain ignorant of the miserable lives of factory farmed pigs, and there wouldn’t be any consumer demand for higher standards of pig welfare.

    Kia Kaha and Thank You.

    • Thanks very much for the kind words.

      Regarding this particular story I basically had to decide whether or not I was willing to compromise the career I have been training towards. I decided that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I had not done everything I could for these animals.

      Not all of us can do this kind of work but I and those I work with admire and are very greatful for all the work that is done by others on behalf of animals.

      • Rosie 14.1.1

        It sounds like you have sacrificed something important to yourself, your career prospects (hopefully only temporarily if there were any justice). That’s a big thing to do, as well as all the other considerations to be made in your line of work. All of which prove that you are operating at the highest level on Kohlberg’s scale of moral development!

        All the best with your continuing animal welfare work and for the future when the paid work opportunities present.

  15. Belladonna 15

    Here is a veggie bacon recipe for those who are interested.
    Smoke flavouring/essence is available from health food shops, barbecue and many specialty food shops. Also ‘As Seen on TV’ shops have it.


  16. grumpy 16

    As a bit more than just a “part time” farmer, I abhor all animal cruelty and have supported similar posts on pig “farming” and dairy “factory” farming in the past.
    We all know this exists and hate being confronted with how our bacon is produced (we only eat wild pork, reguarly supplied by my son – in -law).
    What I really want to know, is that rather than concentrate on these known issues, what is your position on Halal slaughter? This is real cruelty that applies to all meat production and when realised, is enough to send us all into being ‘philu” clones!

    • Roy 16.1

      100% of sheep slaughtered in New Zealand slaughterhouses are slaughtered in accordance with Halal and all are humanely stunned prior to slaughter, so that they feel no pain. The concessions required to slaughter in compliance with Halal are that the sheep must be facing Mecca (some slaughterhouses spent millions turning their chains around), the throat must be cut by a Muslim, and the sheep must be blessed as the throat is cut.
      According to Halal, the heart must be beating when the throat is cut, so NZ sheep are stunned by head-only stunning rather than head-to-back stunning.
      Halal slaughter of cattle is also completely humane if a captive bolt is used to stun the animal, and captive bolt is used throughout the Western world for stunning cattle prior to exsanguination.
      If your concern is slaughter without pre-slaughter stunning, it is Kosher slaughter that you should be concerned about, not Halal. Unlike Halal slaughter, Kosher slaughter prohibits pre-slaughter stunning, and is therefore horrifically inhumane. New Zealand came close to prohibiting Kosher slaughter until the spineless Nick Smith caved to the Jewish lobby and permitted the Kosher slaughter of chickens.

      • JohnDarroch 16.1.1

        Yes sheep are stunned before slaughter, but at the slaughterhouses I have visited the sheep have been in clear distress as they head towards the captive bolt pistol. The sheep are moved around the country to whichever slaughterhouse is cheapest and are then treated roughly as they are pushed sent towards the chain.

        I respect that not everyone will share my beliefs around animal rights but I would argue that any kind of industrialised animal production system will compromise the welfare of animals.

        Also – I have seen a worker sitting casually bobbing to music while he used the captive bolt pistol – he wasn’t taking much care to make sure he was hitting the right part of the skull. I also spent a day behind another slaughterhouse and witnessed workers mistreating animals – leading to a successful prosecution. I sincerely believe that mistreatment of animals is rampant because of how often I have witnessed it when hanging around farms and slaughterhouses.

        • Roy

          Humane transport and humane handling in the yards are completely different issues to Halal slaughter. I was responding to your false claim that Halal slaughter is ‘real cruelty’. Transporting animals inappropriately long distances, and handling them inhumanely in the yards, is absolutely nothing to do with whether the slaughter itself is in compliance with Halal or not.
          Also, you’d be surprised how little it matters exactly where the bolt hits, in terms of ensuring that the animal is rendered unconscious for the entire period until death from exsanguination intervenes.

          • grumpy

            That is what they thought in Britain until activists investigated and posted video. Our shameful involvement in live sheep exports only ceased when video of their treatment at destination became available.

            • Roy

              I have been in plenty of slaughterhouses including those in New Zealand, the Americas, and a number of EU countries. I am highly aware of humane slaughter practices.

    • Tracey 16.2

      thank god you dont vote national, ACT or Labour who show no desire to stamp this kind of stuff out 😉

      • grumpy 16.2.1

        Clearly you forget that the Freezing Worker Unions were always amongst the strongest supporters of Labour?

  17. fambo 17

    While it is important to make pig farming in New Zealand more humane, it is equally important to ban pork imports from countries that don’t have the same high standards. I heard a documentary on National Radio recently where the interviewee said pig farms in Britain which have comparatively high standards can’t compete with cheaper imports from countries with lower standards and pig farming is rapidly dying out in Britain as a result. Looking after the pigs is only one half of the equation. The other half is not allowing the price of New Zealand pig products to be undercut.

    • Chooky 17.1

      +100 fambo…..”The other half is not allowing the price of New Zealand pig products to be undercut”..or contaminated by disease and pollutants found in the meat from other countries like China

    • Roy 17.2

      Pig producers in Australia and Canada have been able to undercut New Zealand pig producers for decades anyway, just by being more efficient.

      • Chooky 17.2.1

        @Roy ….efficiency and price is not the issue….and is different from animal welfare and free-range…..are Australian and Canadian pork producers more humane and are their pigs kept in cages?….are their pigs free-range?…are their pigs injected with antibiotics and other contaminants? ( it should be required to be put on the labels ie country of origin, how the pigs were looked after/free range, antibiotics, diseases, pollutants etc)

        • Roy

          I was responding to fambo’s statement ‘The other half is not allowing the price of New Zealand pig products to be undercut.’
          As to whether or not pig producers in Australia and Canada are more or less humane, you should direct your questions to MPI but note there are very stringent residue limits on contaminants in imported meat.

    • I completely agree – I’ve been meaning to try and get this point into the media. Thanks for the reminder.

  18. Eric Wolff 18

    Well done John and all at Farmwatch NZ, it is painful to endure the conditions in which the sentient beings are confined. They live in what can only be described as squaler and filth with no chance of escape. The stench is unbelievable, I know this as I loaned my camera gear to someone many years in order to go on to one of these types of concentration “farms.” The camera stunk so badly for many weeks after thst I coul not go near it. That was from only being in the putrid air for less than an hour. What must it be like for those innocent souls forced to live in and endure that almost toxic odour.

  19. Eric 19

    Well done John and all at Farmwatch NZ, it is painful to endure the conditions in which the sentient beings are confined. They live in what can only be described as squaler and filth with no chance of escape. The stench is unbelievable, I know this as I loaned my camera gear to someone many years in order to go on to one of these types of concentration “farms.” The camera stunk so badly for many weeks after thst I coul not go near it. That was from only being in the putrid air for less than an hour. What must it be like for those innocent souls forced to live in and endure that almost toxic odour.

    • bad12 19.1

      Are Eric and Eric Wolf grand thinkers of exactly the same thing within minutes of each other, one mimicking the other,or, the same two people commenting under two different handles???…

    • I have had the same issue with camera gear and we have had cameras destroyed by the dust and crap which is in the air in these farms. When I leave a battery hen shed I am often coughing and have a sore throat, spending your entire life in these conditions must be hellish.

  20. Eric Wolff 20

    There are a number of downright idiotic comments here from some very selfish, ignorant and quite arrogant people, full of their own self importance. To these people animals, other than their own species appear to mean very little in their own right, just a food source. Homosapien is but one species that has evolvolved on this planet. We are nothing special in so far as emotions, feeling happiness and pain and suffering is concerned. To those that go on about plants feeling pain and having the ability to analyse and interpret senstations in to a sence of pain and suffering by their non-existent brain. Well good luck with that one. Also, if you are so concerned with that, then consuming animal flesh and anmal by-products only makes thing worse on that front. It takes up to ten times the amount of plant matter to grow animals to produce the equivalent amount of protein and other nutrients for human consumption than it does from plants directly.

    • bad12 20.1

      How amusing, because you can see no identifiable central nervous system in a plant it does not have one???,

      i have posted links over in ‘Open Mike’ which suggest otherwise, so as not to wreck the content/intent of this Post it is possibly a good idea to hive off such a debate to that particular section of the forum…

  21. Draco T Bastard 21

    What we need here is personal responsibility enshrined in law:

    1. The farm will maintain standards to ensure that the animals are happy and well cared for and have room to run in the sun
    2. If these standards are not maintained then the farm will be nationalised
    3. When the farm is nationalised the farm debts will stay with the previous owner
    4. The farm owner will never again be allowed to be in a position of responsibility. This includes any sort of administrative position or owning of a business including shares in a business
    • Roy 21.1

      You do know that pigs are susceptible to sunburn? I guess not…
      I think indoor housing of pigs is fine as long as ventilation and air quality are controlled to ensure that buildup of harmful levels of dust, ammonia and other noxious substances are prevented, and the pigs have plenty of room to move about, socialise and generally be comfortable.

      • Draco T Bastard 21.1.1

        You do know that pigs are susceptible to sunburn? I guess not…

        I kinda assumed that people would realise that I meant for there to be shelter available for them as well.

        I think indoor housing of pigs is fine as long as ventilation and air quality are controlled to ensure that buildup of harmful levels of dust, ammonia and other noxious substances are prevented, and the pigs have plenty of room to move about, socialise and generally be comfortable.

        I happen to think that pigs and other animals are best off in as natural environment as possible. Things like open fields and trees.

        • JohnDarroch

          Every indoor system I have seen (even the open sided barns on free range farms) involves keeping pigs in an environment which is pretty much devoid of stimulation and in which they can’t live anything like a normal life for a pig.

          Most indoor systems though involve a pig living their entire life on cold, bare concrete, surrounded by bars or concrete walls. I don’t think there is any way to make that kind of system humane.

      • phillip ure 21.1.2

        do you work for the pork board..there..roy..?

        ..or are you a pig-farmer..?

        ..are you trying to hose this down..?

        • Roy

          I have kept pigs and have visited a wide range of pig farms. Personally I think the deep-litter system, properly done, is just as humane and enjoyable for the pigs as being kept on pasture.

  22. Te Reo Putake 22

    I think you’re missing the point, bad. For me, vegetarianism is about harm minimisation. That is both harm to me personally and harm to the world generally. I’m as supportive of vegans as I am of meat eaters who have merely toned down their flesh consumption. It’s about making a conscious choice to understand what is being eaten and knowing both the nutritional and political aspects of the choice we make when we eat.

    As I think I’ve said before on the Standard, I see socialism and vegetarianism as being on the same continuum. Empathy for human animals leads easily to empathy for other animals.

    • Ennui 22.1
        + some. Empathy, conscious choice to understand.
    • felix 22.2

      Well put TRP, pretty much sums up my view of the matter too.

      I found it quite disturbing to read on yesterday’s open mic several comments from supposed left-wing fellow-travellers who were laughing and joking about the suffering of animals, and belittling any displays of empathy.

      I don’t judge any individual for what they choose eat, but I do find it difficult to take seriously the views of anyone who displays such a lack of mindfulness about their actions.

      • marty mars 22.2.1

        Plus 1 – I agree with you felix and TRP.

      • Tracey 22.2.2

        i know if i had to kill my own meat i would be vegetarian. I know this makes me a hypocrite. I was vegetarian for two years. I went to europe on a serious budget for two months and tge availability of fresh fruit and veggies turned me back to meat.

        I like to think if i had lived in germany in the 30’s and 40’s i would have stood up to atrocities, to have housed those wanted by the nazis. I like to think it, but deep down i wonder, how much courage would i have? Probably not enough.

        I dont justify my meat eating. I know animals die a horrible death because of my consumption. I eat free range to make myself feel better that maybe they werent tortured before the slaughterhouse. But i know their last moments are in terror.

        I am a hypocrite.

        • phillip ure

          good to see you have reached that realisation..

          ..(that will continue to eat at you..(pun intentional..)

          ..maybe you should/need to talk to stephanie..?

          ..as she is still a country-mile from that square..

          • Tracey

            it is not a new realisation phil. I have known this for over 25 years. You fight your fight, stephanie fights hers. I fight for an end to sexual abuse of humans and the attitudes that allow it. To my knowledge you dont but i dont beat you over the head for it every day

            • phillip ure

              so why does rodgers feel the need to sneer @ those fighting for the animals..?

              ..and i didn’t invite her..and the others..to launch into a vicious personal attack..

              ..just ‘cos i am speaking up for the animals..?

              ..but i am used to that..sometimes i think vegetarians hate me more than carnivores do..

              ..i guess because i am challenging their smugness/self-congratulation..

              ..and showing it up to be the farce it is..

    • Tracey 22.3

      genuine question. How do you reconcile consuming dairy products given that bobby calves are a direct result of the demand for milk?

      • phillip ure 22.3.1

        good question..

        ..and one that all lacto-vegetarians..esp. those who claim to be there for any animal welfare issues..

        ..have to ask themselves..

        (and btw..i am calling ‘bullshit!’ on anyone claiming to ‘only’ eat free-range flesh…)

        • bad12

          Well Phillip, Tracey has asked ‘You’ the question, why do you not answer the question instead of delivering a glib sidestep…

      • grumpy 22.3.2

        Very good question. Ever think about your demand for milk leads to the induction of dairy calves?

  23. Colonial Viper 23

    Likewise I congratulate your persistent and humane efforts, John & Farmwatch.

    I rather expect that the industry will look at sticking Private Investigators, surveillance and PC infiltration on you now in order to find further avenues to discredit your good works, so please be prepared with suitable precautions and counter-measures.

    Bacon declaration: I do eat bacon.

    • Thanks 🙂

      I’m conscious of the fact that I am under pretty much constant monitoring by the police and security companies. My main protection is that I have absolutely nothing to hide and would happily stand up in court to defend my actions. That’s why I am happy to put my name behind the work that I do, if the industry or police want to talk to me they know where to find me.

      • lprent 23.1.1

        I’m conscious of the fact that I am under pretty much constant monitoring by the police and security companies.

        He isn’t kidding either. When I examined the tracking device that Thompson and Clark illegally attached to a car that rocky was in back in 2010, it start to make you realize exactly how paranoid the Pork Board is.


        Rather than getting their members to clean up and actually follow the animal welfare acts, they target the people who are monitoring them. Of course the Ministry of Primary Industries have so few people doing inspections for them and even those appear to be deeply in the pocket of the industries – that they are just as ineffectual as Minister Nathan Guy makes them appear to be..

      • Belladonna 23.1.2

        I am full of admiration for the work you do John.

      • Ennui 23.1.3

        Keep up the good work, your open stance is actually very powerful and must drive the authorities and farmers crazy (given institutions natural tendency toward privacy and exclusiveness).

        PS I am suffering a pork drought because nobody in our house can face how pigs are treated. Hope you win soon!

        • JohnDarroch

          Haha thanks! Long may the drought continue 😉

          It was actually really liberating to decide to be completely open about the work we do. The reality is that these industries know that if we were arrested we would use it as an opportunity to focus attention back on them.

  24. our most (in)famous pig concentration camp owner/operator..?

    ..roger douglas…

  25. philj 25

    Pigs are like humans in many ways. Our mal treatment of them reflects badly on humans. Great work John and others. It’s a human rights issue in a strange kind of way. If we can’t treat
    our fellow brothers and sisters justly, how can we expect better treatment for our pigs, chooks etc?

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