Pork Board engages in doublespeak

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, May 20th, 2009 - 59 comments
Categories: animal welfare - Tags:

Chair of the NZ Pork Industry Board Chris Trengrove told Campbell Live last night, “The industry is changing and has been changing since 2005, we’ve been monitoring those changes, um, we have over half of the industry now out of the stalls altogether…”

He then went on to say that research shows sows stalls are necessary for the safety of the sows.

Likewise from TVNZ on Monday: Trengrove says probably over half the sows in New Zealand are free range outdoors or stall free. He says the industry has been moving away from the use sow stalls for some years down to a point where they will be used for four weeks, for the safety of the sow.

So apparently it is necessary for the safety of sows that they be confined in sow stalls, yet somehow, miraculously over half of the sows in the country are safe not being confined in these stalls?

How gullible does he think we are? This seems to be a classic case of doublespeak. The question is, does Trengrove believe his own lies? George Orwell’s 1984 describes doublethink as:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

Actually what Trengrove really meant was that if pigs are intensively farmed, sows are safer in individual stalls than cramped together where the confined conditions make them stressed and aggressive. If pigs are farmed free range outdoors, sow stalls are completely unnecessary. Of course Trengrove is unwilling to admit to the public that all intensive indoor farming is cruel and stressful for pigs; he prefers instead to mislead the public by speaking in complete contradictions.

SAFE’s LovePigs campaign website has a nice handy list correcting misleading comments from the pork industry in recent days.

– Rochelle Rees

59 comments on “Pork Board engages in doublespeak”

  1. vto 1

    Ha ha this whole issue is a classic. Town versus country. PC versus non-PC. Greenie versus farmer. etc v etc.

    It seems to me though that there has been some massive mischief on behalf of the animal group to present a situation which is quite removed from the actuality. Or double-speak if you like, themselves.

    If people are so upset then they should go and visit a pig farmer and have a look for themselves. There is no possibility of getting the truth from the media, or especially the likes of extreme groups such as SAFE or such subjective blobs as the standard.

    edit – curious, have you ever been a farmer rochelle rees?

    • RedLogix 1.1

      If people are so upset then they should go and visit a pig farmer and have a look for themselves.

      Good idea. If they are anything like the chicken sheds, you will never eat pork again. Actually the operators will almost certainly not allow visitors inside the buildings, partly for biosecurity reasons, but also because they know most ordinary people would be quite rightly revolted by what they see.

    • lprent 1.2

      Rochelle has spent considerable time on my parents small holding (88 acres) while she was growing up before they retired. So yes she has been around farms and farmers.

      I’ve spent a *lot* of times on farms myself working when I was younger, town supply, beef and sheep. Intensive pig-farming and for that matter polutry farming in the style that is permitted by ‘temporary’ exemptions to the animal welfare act look both extremely cruel and bloody dangerous to public health to me.

      So was there a point to your comment ?

  2. If people are so upset then they should go and visit a pig farmer and have a look for themselves. There is no possibility of getting the truth from the media, or especially the likes of extreme groups such as SAFE or such subjective blobs as the standard.

    Did you see Close Up last night? There are two videos on the issue if you visit the link. You’ll note the media have been trying very hard to be able to look at some pig farms. Unfortunately it seems farmers aren’t willing to let the public see for themselves what is really going on.

    • Maynard J 2.1

      Didn’t the head of NZ pork say he’d be happy to take Sainsbury along to any pig farm in NZ, yet the next day there was not one single farm that would allow it?

      I can understand why. It is not a good look and no farmer would open themselves voluntarily to that kind of scrutiny. If they did, no doubt they would be accused of being worse, somehow, than all other farms, despite no doubt also being within the law.

      vto – what has “PC” got to do with it? “PC” is a term invented by morally bankrupt f*ckwits who don’t like things not being acceptable (ie change-adverse conservatives) and instead of having to admit there is a real, moral, social and ethical reason to make a change they try and downplay it by saying there is only a ‘political’ reason.

      What you are saying is that there is no reason sow crates should be abolished, apart from that some politicians would want to be seen doing the right thing. Is that your genuine belief – in an ideal world we would still have sow crates and there is not one good reason to get rid of them? If you think that I think you are a bit sick.

      • vto 2.1.1

        Mr Maynard, was a bit of a wind-up. Should perhaps stop doing that. But is such fun, especially when other sides exaggerate too.

        What I was getting at is that this issue is a classic case of a wind-up. It seems that both farmers and safe are heading in the same direction, just at different speeds. Just like dairy is slooowwly easing up on its enviro degradation and chickens are now being read bedtime stories, so too is the pork industry improving its operations. Like most all industries.

        safe is doing its usual bit to keep the industry on its toes too. I really don’t see the story.

        As for the consumer throwing its hands up in horror – well that just highlights the gap between town and country today. It seems many consumers simply have no idea what it takes to fertilise, birth, raise and grow to a healthy condition an animal, followed by a killing, slicing and mincing before being packed up all pretty for a hand with clean fingernails to take from the supermarket shelf. It’s quite laughable.

        No animals should suffer.

        • Maynard J 2.1.1.1

          Don’t forget the hand sanitiser and tissues in case you get icky stuff on you!

          Wouldn’t blame anyone for running with this story. Many of us know what is going on but most do not. It is the same for thousands of other issues; when your issue has exposure, run with it. Of course it is a non-story to those who have known all along but it is a big story to all the people who never gave it a second’s thought.

          I see you do not really think it is ‘pc’ after all – though that term has lost all meaning hasn’t it?

        • Rochelle Rees 2.1.1.2

          and chickens are now being read bedtime stories

          I can only assume this is some sort of comment on battery hen farming. Are you aware that there have never been any sort of welfare gains for layer hens? The 2005 code review gave each hen a credit card size more space, making no difference to her ability to spread her wings or show any natural patterns of behavior. This all despite the fact a campaign in NZ against battery hen farming has been running for over 20 years. Yet you think there is some sort of natural process? Pretty damn slow if there is.

          • vto 2.1.1.2.1

            Take what I say with a grain of salt at times. All power to the animal welfare groups aims. It is needed. The methods and etc are a slightly different story though.

            Farming practices need pressure to stop some of the less savoury practices. Problem is that they are businesses and they will go only as far as they have to and no further (otherwise they disadvantage themselves relative to their competition). And they will resist to the greatest extent possible anything considered damaging (costly).

            Agriculture’s true effect on both animal welfare and the NZ environment is only being appreciated now. There has been 150 years of farmers doing pretty much what they want and to change that ‘culture’ will take some more time yet. It is happenning though. Check in again in another 20 years and I suspect the landscape on these issues will be vastlky ahead of where it is today.

          • felix 2.1.1.2.2

            There has been 150 years of farmers doing pretty much what they want and to change that ‘culture’ will take some more time yet.

            Yet you seem to imply that letting them carry on doing whatever they’re doing is acceptable as they’ll eventually change due to some imaginary “natural process”.

            Check in again in another 20 years and I suspect the landscape on these issues will be vastlky ahead of where it is today.

            Not without constant pressure from groups like SAFE and others.

            There is no “natural process” by which industries give up their destructive behaviour, it’s as a result of direct pressure.

            If we don’t want pigs treated like this, change the law and pig farmers can fall in line with the law like everyone else has to.

            Why do you see that as such a difficult and unimaginable route to follow, vto?

          • Rochelle Rees 2.1.1.2.3

            vto what issue exactly do you take with the methods of animal rights groups on this?

          • vto 2.1.1.2.4

            felix, maybe I didn’t explain myself too well. I agree with you – there is no natural process. The required change will only come about through pressure from the likes of consumers and safe. And has only come about to date due to those pressures.

            Rochelle, the issue with the animal rights groups is the some time practices such as, breaking and entering, winding up the animals to protray a distressed animal which is not in fact distressed, etc. Simply, law-breaking and deception.

          • Rochelle Rees 2.1.1.2.5

            vto: The law-breaking in terms of breaking into the farm I 100% support. You talk about exposure to reality – well the only reason the public are given any sort of exposure to reality is due to animal rights groups breaking into factory farms and gathering video footage and photographs. Every single time factory farms (pig or chicken) have been shown in the media it has been because of that. Where would we be on this issue without the law-breakers?

            You initially said people should go and see for themselves the realities of factory farming. Well the only way I ever got that opportunity was either by breaking in or by deceiving the farmer as to the purpose of my visit. Every request I have ever put to a factory farmer to view or film their farm has been denied.

            As for winding up the animals to portray distressed animals – completely untrue. I wasn’t involved in this particular instance, but I can tell you the conditions on other farms are exactly the same without any need to try and wind up animals. This is pure defensive crap being put out by the farmer in question who is trying to cover his own backside and somehow justify the conditions of his farm.

  3. ieuan 3

    News flash: ‘It has just been revealed that the meat in our supermarkets actually comes from animals that are killed’.

    Animal activists are outraged, SAFE spokesperson ‘Huga Tree’ says ‘this is a disgrace, animals should only be eaten if they have died of natural causes and should live there lives in idyllic surroundings surrounded by grass and trees nd running water.’

    A representative from SAFE was to appear on tonight’s programme but they were all unavailable as they were busy watching ‘Charlottes Web’.

    (By the way I’ve been to a pig farm – a number of times, I’ve also working in a freezing works and been to a chicken factory – I’m under no illusion how the meat industry works, I also enjoy eating bacon)

    • Maynard J 3.1

      Let us not be completely disingenuous. You are going to die one day, ieuan. Does that mean your entire life should be miserable as well?

      I like to eat bacon. I know a pig has to die for that to happen, but I would rather it was just killed, as opposed to tortured and then killed (tortured is perhaps too emotive, but it is the only word that fits properly).

      • ieuan 3.1.1

        Well Maynard, vote with your money and buy the more expensive ‘free range’ pork. If enough people do this the industry will adapt.

        These pork farmers are trying to make a living given the MAF rules and the competition in the market place.

        • exbrethren 3.1.1.1

          Ah the competition, overseas do it so we must line.

          Great thinking. Lets bring back child labour as well.

        • Maynard J 3.1.1.2

          I do buy free range. I accept that the farmers are working within the law, I want the law changed. Gradually enough to not put them out of business (as it is not their failings and they sahould not be punished when it is the law failing) but starting as soon as possible. That does not mean I should suffer arguments like yours above.

          (I somehow doubt SAFE thinks we should eat any animals, just to nitpick your parody a bit more 😉 )

        • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.3

          “… vote with your money and buy the more expensive ‘free range’ pork. If enough people do this the industry will adapt.”

          This proves too much I think, in that it is an argument against having welfare codes at all, rather than just sow crates.

        • Rochelle Rees 3.1.1.4

          These pork farmers are trying to make a living given the MAF rules

          So you’d support a change in the rules?

          • ieuan 3.1.1.4.1

            Yes I would support a law change, as long as it is based on common sense and imported products have to meet the same standards.

            However I do think public education is the best approach, like the Jamie Oliver approach to free range eggs.

  4. I think the most amusing thing to come out of this issue is having Colin Kaye point out quite victoriously that “I meet all the regulations, what is happening on my farm is within the law!!!”

    That is the whole f*cking point here. The law is retarded and needs changing.

    The more each farmer goes on about what they do being within the law, the more push there will be to changing the law to ending these barbaric practices.

    I can’t wait for some interesting questions in parliament next week from Sue Kedgley on the issue.

    • Pat 4.1

      The whole issue has two logical solutions:

      1. Change all pig farming in NZ to free range in a short time frame. Sure the price for NZ pork products will go up, but decent labelling and marketing will help consumers buy the products over imported. Hell, NZ Pork Board could hire back Mike King to front it!

      2. NZ, the great agricultural mecca that we thought it was, does not produce enough pork for its own consumption. Cue business opportunity.

      The Nats should use the opportunity to out-green Labour once again. How about government grants assistance/grants to convert pig farms and start up new ones.

  5. The factory farmers, whether chicken or pig, should be sent the bill for pandemic planning and for the pandemic itself when it inevitably arises. It is their overcrowded filthy, virus and bacteria ridden businesses that breed novel influenza strains. In addition, their force feeding of prophlactic antibiotics has cause resistance to almost all of our common antibiotics (half of the antiobotics produced in the world are fed to pigs to keep them alive and growing.) Let’s see how profitable factory farms are when they are forced to pay the real costs of their ‘industry’.

    • ieuan 5.1

      ‘Pandemic planning’ – that would be the massive over reaction, feed by the media, to the latest ‘flu’.

      Would the farmers get a refund for these costs when it all proves to be yet another false alarm?

    • vto 5.2

      Yes sunny, and the dairy farmers should be sent the bill for clouding up Lake Brunner, which is only starting to happen now. In bloody 2009 ffs. Was fine until about 2 years ago. Recently built dairy farms are doing damage straight after being developed. Within a year or few of getting their brand new resource consents. How fucked is that?

      • Maynard J 5.2.1

        Sure it’s not all those bloody developments at Moana?

        If you are right-does that mean RMA is not strong enough, and/or the laws around dairy effluent are not strict enough? I am not sure if you have heard of the ‘sewermahanga’ river in the Wairarapa or gone for a swim (don’t!) in the Manawatu or Waikato lately, but if dairying is affecting Lake Brunner then it is unfortunately not alone.

        More regulations required? Note that I could turn your first comment back on you with this one – pollution of waterways being a “classic. Town versus country. PC versus non-PC. Greenie versus farmer. etc v etc.” issue. If Lake Brunner got some heavyweight media I would expect anyone concerned to make a big issue out of it too!

        • vto 5.2.1.1

          yes, clearly the resource consents are not strong enough to mitigate all effects, or the enforcement is lax. Bit of each I imagine.

          Caught and ate a couple of rainbows from the sewermahunga river a couple of weeks ago. Quite yummy.

          Brunner is getting plenty of attention – but only on the west coast.

          What gets me is the incredible level of environment devastation wrought on the land by intensive farming. A bit like needing irrigation for droughts etc. There aint no droughts in NZ – there are farming practices ill-suited to the conditions. The droughts are normal, it is the farmers who are not.

          There is a hell of a lot that is out of sync in farming in NZ – out of sync with the lands and weather systems.

          • Maynard J 5.2.1.1.1

            Hang on vto – what side are you on? 🙂

            I was shocked at the large-scale irrigation projects up and running between Tekapo and the Lindis Pass. They’ll be singing Cat Stevens “I’ve been farming in a rain-shadow” before too long…

        • vto 5.2.1.2

          “What side am I on?” My side. Seems that means a bit of everything, he he.

          NZ’s obssession with irrigation will undo us. Nature finds its equilibrium, so if you bung something in somewhere, something will end up getting shat out somewhere else. Farmers know this. They choose to ignore it.

          I like the french idea re vineyards – only allowed to irrigate for the first 6 months of growth and after that nil. Roots push down to find water. Vines adapt to the prevailing weather conditions. NZ is even more suited to exactly this. In many areas of farming.

          Unfortunately ours is a very young country wrought from a tough and jungle covered land. The attitude and approach that has arisen from this fact is colouring our approach today, and that will take time to change.

  6. Tigger 6

    One line not hammered home enough is that just because these farms are ‘legal’ doesn’t mean the animals aren’t living in cramped conditions. It’s the same with hen cages – the legal cages are actually too small but economic factors have kept them that way.

    And don’t call this a town vs country issue. Country boy here and the good farmers treated animals humanely. Yep, we sent them off to be killed but you can bet they were well kept until then. I’ve got no problem with eating meat. No problem with killing animals to eat. I do have a problem with them suffering until that moment.

    • gingercrush 6.1

      You male?

    • jarbury 6.2

      Excellent points Tigger. The main point is that this guy was not a rogue farmer at all, in fact this is typical and – most importantly – this is within the law. I bet the Pork Board hoped like hell that he would have been found to not comply with the laws, as then he could have just been dismissed as a rogue.

      But that isn’t the finding. What we all saw on the Sunday programme was legal. And THAT is the problem.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    All this aside, it is actually a very serious health issue when you have stressed, immunosuppressed pigs providing part of our food chain. Pigs and birds are very good recyclers of influenza not too mention the shocking problems we have with Campylobacter, of which we have the highest incidence in the world.

    That is even before we get onto the growth promotant/antibiotic issues regarding intensively reared that have raging for the last fifty years.

    All the evidence I have read points to the fact the happy unstressed animals produce better quality product- which I am sure consumers would be happy to pay abit more for.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Seems there are two simple solutions to solve the problem without penalising farmers who are trying to survive against imported products that are probably produced in worse conditions.

    1. Country of origin labelling as mandatory. Got to agree with the Greens on this one.

    2. Overseas and NZ suppliers should be required to certify the conditions their pigs are raised in prior to being permitted to sell pork in NZ. Part of the certification process should be that overseas and NZ producers are willing to permit independent inspection of their facilities.

    The effect of this would be to put all producers on a level playing field, and thereby enabling NZ farmers to compete under new rules. Shouldn’t be a problem so far as international trading relationships are concerned so long as the same rules apply to all.

  9. It’s not that much extra either. $2 a kg is a figure bandied around, which is only 40c for your 200g pack of bacon.

    • Maynard J 9.1

      Not true I am afraid. Best FR pork I have seen is about $6 for 250gm, it is usually $9 though. You can get a kilo of caged misery for the same low price.

      tsmithfield. Agreed in part, there is a precedent to supply information on labels, nutritional and ingredients.

      This should not stop efforts being made to improve the legal protections though, otherwise we are leaving it to the market and relying on people’s desire to put ethics over economics (and there are of course people who just don’t care -the market does not account for externalities when the participants do not).

  10. Bill 10

    Pork, beef, lamb and chicken are eaten because it’s ‘fashionable’ to eat such meats. The fashion is manufactured by the relevant producers who stand to make a lot of money from our eating habits. Post WW2 industrial farming was seen as a highly profitable way to supply affordable meat to most. And the costs have remained largely out of sight and out of mind.

    My question is why continue eating the ‘big four’ when there is an abundance of other meats in NZ?

    Why not rabbit? Why not possum? Why not goose?

    ‘Cause agribusiness can’t make a killing from such meats? (pun intended).

    Why does rabbit cost $20 + per kilo in the supermarket?

    Em, could it be ’cause the health regulations that had to be put in place to protect us from lax industrial farming practices are expensive and apply to all meats, whether farmed or not.

    Arguments that NZ cannot be supplied with meat without industrial farming is utter bull. Alter perceptions of what is eatable meat and alter the supply chain so that large agri-business is not the sole supplier of our meat. Have the necessary MAF checks,balances and regulations applied in an appropriate fashion…ie disproportionately to the industrial farming sector instead of to all and sundry.

    Choice increases, prices (of some meats) drop…..but then, the industrial farming sector; the few powerful large players in that sector will. not. make. the. money. they.make. right. now.

    So, expect a lot more animal suffering, very little movement and remember that what is good for industrial farming is good for the country is good for you.

    • gingercrush 10.1

      Actually if you could get humans to eat possums that would be rather good. Money is rather good for possum fur. The meat however, and how people are getting those possums would be an issue. Considering that possum could be dead in the bush for over a week before being collected. Poison etc is also a considerable matter. It could weight up economically.

      Though your post seems set to just bash farmers in this country. I’m not sure what your point on Beef or Lamb is. Particularly, as these animals aren’t put in sows or cages etc.

      Of course if you want to see farming fail. Say goodbye to any wage increase. You won’t even get a wage increase it’ll be a wage decrease. Watch your taxes go up substnatially. Watch other businesses increasingly go bankrupt. Watch unemployment go above 15%. All would happen if our farming got significantly smaller.

      • lprent 10.1.1

        Have you ever eaten possum? If you had you wouldn’t make the suggestion – especially old man possum. (the noisy buggers that you you usually find in the spotlight)…

        Taste bloody awful

        • gingercrush 10.1.1.1

          Yes I have, Possum Stew and possum pie. Its an interesting taste.

          I wasn’t being particularly serious with that comment. Though possum could be turned into dog food rather well I would have thought. Dogs really can’t get enough of possum meat.

          • lprent 10.1.1.1.1

            Yeah used find that out in the middle of the night when the dogs would tree an early breakfast in a puriri during berry season.

      • Bill 10.1.2

        Note I used the term ‘industrial farming’ GC?.

        I’d have thought the term denoted an obvious departure from what we might consider ‘traditional farming’….not that there is too much in the way of traditional farming left thanks to economies of scale leading to such low meat prices that traditional farms go to the wall as they (the farmers) are unable to make a living on the massively unequal playing field of modern agricultural production.

        That sentence long enough?

        A failure in industrial farming would arguably put more money in the economy if that failure led to a resurgence in traditional farming methods. I can imagine a scenario where traditional farming practices are viable resulting in more money moving around the economy than at present. A relatively few very rich farmers do less for an economy than would many reasonably well off and secure farmers.

        More people could presumably find worthwhile employment in farming that was not predicated on ‘big is good product assembly line’ industrial farming methods too.

        And with the intensive nature of livestock farming gone, animal welfare would improve, related health concerns diminish (for us two legged beasts too) and quality of end product improve.

        Which might lead to much of the regulatory framework in place at the moment becoming redundant meaning that rabbit in the supermarket was not a per kg price equivalent of good quality beef cuts.

        But the incumbent benefactors of the current farming system have every incentive to see that such a situation never eventuates. They. don’t. want. to see. their. cash. cow. on. the. chopping. block.

    • ieuan 10.2

      I hear that shoulder pads are in this year (retro 80’s) and the colours are subdued.

      By the way, why not ‘horse’, why not ‘dog’?

  11. Pat 11

    Is one of the next steps in the strategy for Mike King/SAFE to publicly endorse brands that are not crate farming e.g. Premier Bacon?

    Wouldn’t this be a good idea to educate consumers, and to throw competitors into a spin?

  12. to publicly endorse brands that are not crate farming e.g. Premier Bacon?

    Actually Premier Bacon do have factory farms.

    • Pat 12.1

      Well they were blowing their trumpet on radio this morning. SAFE need to stand up and endorse/give publicity to the producers that they are happy with.

      • I just checked this out further, and it turns out that while Premier Bacon no longer use Sow Stalls, they do use Farrowing Crates and Fattening Pens which are just as bad.

        http://www.lovepigs.org.nz/Pigs-in-New-Zealand/

        • Pat 12.1.2.1

          Whoa hang on a minute there. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Given most farms will have limited outdoor space, it would seem OK for some limited intensification.

          As you said:

          “Farrowing Crates are then used for a following 4-6 weeks after birth”.

          That’s OK, isn’t it? A couple of times a year in a farrowing crate whilst the piglets are most vulnerable to ensure birthrates are maximized, seems not a big deal.

          Same with Fattening Pens. If a pig gets to spend most of it’s life free range, then spend it’s last weeks in a fattening pen prior to slaughter, is that a big deal?

          Surely the goal should be to rid pigs of a lifetime in a stall. This would seem an acheivable goal and an acceptable compromise to enable farmers to comply with.

          • Rochelle Rees 12.1.2.1.1

            I would not consider 8-12 weeks in a farrowing crate per year acceptable. And when the industry talks about farrowing crates being necessary, they mean they are necessary if intensive indoor confinement is used.

            Fattening pens are not just somewhere the pig goes for a few weeks prior to slaughter. They are not otherwise free range. Free range farms don’t use fattening pens. Factory farms keep pigs in fattening pens from when they are weaned off their mother (and taken out of the farrowing crates) till death. Their lifespan is only about 16 weeks.

            So no, I don’t think your suggestion is a suitable compromise.

  13. vto 13

    Rochelle, noted what you said in reply further up.

    How do you propose the problem should be fixed? Serious question. Especially how NZ regs re crates and the like would marry with regs on importers to NZ.

    • My preference would be for the recommendations of parliament’s Regulations Review Committee be implemented for a start. The previous minister Jim Anderton completely ignored the fact that the current codes of welfare for pigs and layer hens breach the over-arching Animal Welfare Act 1999.

      I want to see a ban on intensive factory farming, and mandatory country of origin labeling.

      I would like to see pork imports banned (not an issue with eggs as they are already banned), but unfortunately that would be difficult given our free trade agreement with China and our relationship with the WTO.

  14. Kevin Welsh 14

    Well, after watching Cambell Live last night and listening to an interview on Radio Live this morning, I think there is a lot of unfounded hysteria over this issue.

    The way I understand it:

    1. Sow Stalls are only supposed to be used for farrowing sows to stop them rolling over and squashing piglets

    2. They are only neccessary for four weeks after farrowing.

    3. They used to be made of wood and the sows would chew the wood – for whatever reason. Maybe they just like the taste?

    4. Any farmer using them for other than what they are designed for has issues.

    • 1. You’re wrong. Sow Stalls and Farrowing Crates are completely different. Sow Stalls are for when the Sows are pregnant, Farrowing Crates are for once they have given birth.

      Currently Sow Stalls are used by some farmers for the whole of a sows pregnancy. However the Chair of the Pork Board says they want to phase that down to only 4 weeks in the next 10 years.

      Farrowing Crates are then used for a following 4-6 weeks after birth. This is only necessary if pigs are intensively farmed indoors, and there is not the issues with outdoor free range systems.

      Now given that most sows will have two pregnancies per year, this means that even in 10 years when the industry has completed their phase down to 4 weeks for Sow Stalls, the average sow will still spend 16-20 weeks confined per year. That is a third of her life.

      2. Farrowing Crates are used for 4-6 weeks after birth. This does not include time in a Sow Stall.

      3. ???

      4. Completely agree but would extend further to any farmer using them for any purpose has issues.

  15. Nih 15

    To be honest, I’m completely OK with the situation. It does seem the abuse of piggies has been blown out of proportion for political reasons.

    Somehow though, while being outraged at the treatment of such intelligent, social animals the ‘ethical’ side of the argument’s proponents’ are not mentioning that we make piggy mums pregnant then raise their piggy babies to become delicious piggy steaks and cured piggy bacon. Mmm. Not being in a cage for four weeks isn’t really going to tone down how horrific enjoying wonderful piggy loin steaks can be.

    A lot of people need to accept death, recognise where their food comes from and just how little difference there is between us and our food. It’s us or them and it’s a brutal world out there. To ignore it is just silly.

  16. inpassing 16

    I heard something about this issue on the radio.. at the time failing to take in any factual sense from the contradiction/s that Rochelle Rees here makes apparent..

    Given the position outlined I’d have to say If pigs are farmed free range outdoors, sow stalls are completely unnecessary. Of course Trengrove is unwilling to admit to the public that all intensive indoor farming is cruel and stressful for pigs; he prefers instead to mislead the public by speaking… (in tongues 😉 I might add makes a heap of commonsense.

    Received wisdom arising here – (quest for clarity admitted) – prior to reading the above, pointed out in a book somewhere about enzed and from the days before Knights lost caliber, lance and horse-power tho not tunnel vision under tall tin hats and thick-skinned body armor, was a pic of one, roger douglas, businessman, standing over a row of battery pigs and saying how farming efficiency was the next big winner! His own at the time, they say. King o’ the pigs… wow!

    Has me wonder how long this farming intensivity has been agoing on.. and whether – the pic would be sepiaed if not between largely unopened book covers – it is another legacy of his…

    Thern hasn’t there been a good deal of Orwellian language put about recently..

    On the taste thing.. bacon fat has gotten a stranger taste these days.. are they mixing olive oil and so on.. into the pig feed.

    Given a strong reliance on ‘traditional’ spreads in the human foods market experimentation with vegie/animal blending could result in over-use-by-dated brands.

    An excuse I know, but no point not having them when it comes to pig fashion ..eh..

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