NZ: Review of pig welfare standards ordered

22-05-2009 | |

New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister David Carter has called for an urgent review of the welfare code for pigs following the release of secretly filmed footage alleging ill-treatment at a pig farm in the country.

A piggery in Levine was the subject of TVNZ’s Sunday programme in which animal welfare activists highlighted the pigs’ treatment.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry animal welfare inspectors, an independent vet and pig expert, visited the pig farm at the centre of the controversy and spent about 2 hours there.

The results of the inspection are as yet unclear with some reports claiming they did not find anything wrong with the farm owned by a former New Zealand Pork Industry Board chairman. But MAF said the ministry had not reached a decision about the farm. The farm was investigated three years ago, and cleared of any wrong-doing.

New welfare code for pigs
Carter has asked the advisory board to make reviewing the 2005 code for pigs its “highest priority”. Carter said he wanted to issue a new welfare code for pigs by the end of the year.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee discussed the future of sow crates following the scandal at a routine quarterly meeting. Meanwhile, the SPCA is calling on pig farmers to come up with a labelling standard to identify meat from pigs kept in sow crates.

SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said yesterday that unless sow crates were quickly outlawed the industry should adopt a labelling system so that shoppers could tell the difference between pigs raised in crates and other pigs.

The pork industry took journalists to visit two Canterbury pig farms yesterday in an effort to stem negative publicity.