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Now it's up to the farmers

Wednesday, 1 December, 2010

In today’s signing of the reviewed Welfare Code on behalf of the Government, MAF Minister David Carter has assured better on-going welfare conditions for pigs and set a definite and timely end date for the anathema that is dry sow stalls.

Now it’s over to industry to grasp this opportunity to use better animal welfare as a marketing advantage.

SPCA New Zealand applauds the Government’s move to completely phase out sow stalls by 2015. We are also delighted there is to be a 25 per cent reduction in the time sows can be held in farrowing crates.

We hope these moves will be a driver for the industry to value not only the profits from pig farming but also animal welfare.

By choosing the lowest common denominator, pig farmers have been missing out on the competitive advantage they could have gained from highlighting animal welfare.

The SPCA is anxious to ensure a sustainable pig industry in New Zealand. In that way, we can ensure the meat Kiwis consume comes from animals that have been well treated. Imported pork is presently 100% intensively farmed and if all our pork products were imported, we would have no avenue for oversight of the production techniques.

Our pork industry needs to expand its vision of profit for its farmers to include the best animal welfare principles and practices.

We have found with our SPCA Blue Tick animal welfare accreditation programme that New Zealand consumers are increasingly demanding information to know that their meat is produced in a humane manner.

Until the pork industry in New Zealand is transparent about the welfare of its sows and its intention to improve that, it will not only be delaying inevitable change but also be missing out on a substantial marketing advantage that could ensure its sustainability.