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Pork industry confronts farming criticism

Published: 7:11PM Wednesday May 20, 2009 Source: ONE News

The pork industry's gone on the attack after criticism of the way pigs are raised.
 
It says banning sow stalls completely would be pointless and lead to more imports from countries where pigs spend all their lives in the crates.
 
ONE News on Wednesday was invited onto what the industry says is a typical pig farm in Canterbury where sows and boars mingle and piglets roam free with their mums.

But despite appearances it's far from a free range paradise.

Ian McIntosh, who runs the farm, says they have got a problem where bully sows intimidate insubordinate sows.

In fact, breeding pigs often turn brutal on each other and the only answer to that worldwide has been to take them indoors and separate breeding sows in stalls.

"This is absolutely the best way to look after them during that period. If we did anything else it would be inhumane," says Sam McIvor, the Pork Board Chief Executive.

A pig farmer himself, McIvor has a 5000 pig setup on his farm, which is high tech. So much so that every single person who enters the stalls has to shower before they can visit the pigs.

It's all about keeping out disease, especially the Wasting Syndrome that devastated the pork industry five years ago.

The more immediate worry though is this week's damaging TV images that were broadcast on TVNZ's Sunday programme.

"Fifteen seconds of footage is not a good way to judge 200 producers in the industry," says McIvor.

And they say because of soil types, Canterbury is about the only region they can go fully outdoors. In other parts of the country, they say the pigs would be bogged down.

As the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee considers the stall controversy, producers fear a total ban will just mean more imported pork.

"They've got hormones injected into them, antibiotics. They don't look after the environment like New Zealanders do," says McIvor.

Despite this week's criticism, pig farmers say their ways are way better than most overseas.

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  • ChrisNoaro said on 2010-07-24 @ 20:18 NZDT: Report abusive post

    People need to realise that pigs will continue to be abused like this until we stop eating them. Farming and the meat indutry need to keep costs down to stay competitive so the interests of animals will always be low on the list. Also on the subject of free range - KILLING SOMETHING ISN'T TREATING IT NICELY.

  • trudiu said on 2010-07-24 @ 18:06 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Well done again to Close up, and SAFE. Great to see this back in the spotlight. The biggest thing people can do to help these pigs is go vegan.

  • Freeranger said on 2010-07-24 @ 13:03 NZDT: Report abusive post

    only to be replaced on the supermarket shelves by substandard imports

  • Freeranger said on 2010-07-24 @ 13:01 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Hi,whilst I do not approve of the cruelty, I have a problem with Safe condemning all farmers.In fact it is the outdoor piggeries that are feeling it the hardest when demand goes down. Most outdoor pork producers have higher costs and getter mortality but get the same price as indoor guys which is set by what processors can import from overseas, which is garanteed to be from stalls. So lets support kiwi farmers try to improve instead of running the outdoor piggeries out of business.

  • whiteheron said on 2010-07-24 @ 12:26 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Come on!! This is supposed to be NZ and this is not the NZ way of farming disgusting we should boycott all commercial pork products for 6 months and go back to buying from the local butcher who buys from local farms that have a good working ethic. Lets face it there are good healthy pig farms out there and scenes like this destroy their reputation as well.

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