Australian piggery faces cruelty charge
The piggery of Australian company Westpork Pty has been charged with the mistreatment of one pig by the Department of Local Government and Regional Development.
The charge, laid under the Animal Welfare Act 2002, stems from an investigation into its Gingin piggery that began in early 2007 following claims by an animal welfare group that pigs at the facility had been forced to wallow in filth so deep they struggled to walk and had been left to die slowly once illness took hold.
A Westpork spokesman declined to comment on the charge but defended the company's reputation, saying that it made every effort to treat its livestock in a humane manner.
“Our animals' welfare is the highest priority for us and our veterinary procedures are in line with industry standards,” he said. “This charge has serious implications for the livestock industry nationally.” The spokesman said that Westpork operated the biggest piggery in WA, with more than 40,000 animals on site every day.
WA Farmers Federation president Mike Norton commenting on the situation stated: “I think the industry has made a lot of changes since then,” he said. “They are doing everything they can to eliminate any animal welfare issues being raised against them.”
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