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.