SPCA Challenges Pork Producers To Let Consumers Choose
The Royal New Zealand SPCA has challenged pork producers to ensure consumers know whether or not they are purchasing meat produced in inhumane conditions.
The Society's call comes in response to statements from New Zealand Pork, defending the retention of sow stalls and farrowing crates, after footage of pigs kept in these extreme forms of confinement was shown on TVNZ's 'Sunday' programme.
"It's an indictment on the industry that wrote the Pig Code of Welfare that the animals we saw suffering on the 'Sunday' program were being farmed in accordance with that code and that the farmer thinks that is a reasonable standard.
"In our view, Agriculture Minister David Carter should ban these cruel farming methods. In the meantime, we challenge pork producers to come up with a system that lets consumers know for sure how the pork or bacon they are purchasing has been produced and whether or not sow stalls or farrowing crates have been used," says the SPCA's National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.
"At present, in most abattoirs, there is no attempt to differentiate between meat that originates in appalling circumstances, such as were shown on 'Sunday', and pork or bacon produced more humanely. As a result, there's no way anyone can know the origins of the meat that emerges from these abattoirs.
"Large-scale, intensive producers, who are the abattoirs' major customers, clearly benefit from this lack of transparency, but, equally clearly, it fails to benefit consumers. Nor, for that matter, does it benefit those farmers who adopt a more animal-friendly approach but who, because their meat is not differentiated as it leaves the abattoir, are denied the premium prices they might otherwise be able to claim.
"A considerable amount of public outrage has been stirred by the television footage of pigs in evidently extreme distress as a result of their confinement in acutely restricted areas. The very least we should be able to expect from the industry is clarity over whether the pork or bacon we eat is produced in this manner," she says.
Robyn Kippenberger adds that until truth in labelling occurs the only certain way to avoid purchasing pork or bacon produced in grossly inhumane conditions is to opt for meat labelled 'free farmed' or 'free range'.
"Better still, look for packaging that bears the blue and white 'SPCA Approved' logo (see right). You will then have an absolute guarantee that the meat has been produced in conditions that meet our own comprehensive standards of animal welfare and is from farms that we audit annually," she says.
For further information, please contact:
National Chief Executive
Royal New Zealand SPCA
027 419 SPCA (027 419 7722)
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