It’s been four years since SAFE’s campaign against the factory farming of pigs led to the Pork Board’s own spokesperson, comedian Mike King, very publicly turning his back on promoting pork products. The campaign was a major triumph resulting in a ban on sow stalls.
Real change was achieved, but with new footage of appalling conditions on a Canterbury pig farm just released, are pigs actually better off?
Pork promoter to animal champion
Back in 2009 Mike featured regularly on ads encouraging Kiwis to eat more pork – and he’d been doing so successfully for seven years. After being contacted by SAFE, visiting a farm and being shown the horrors of factory pig farming Mike was absolutely sickened and disgusted. He agreed to join SAFE in exposing the cruel practices he’d seen. The subsequent public outcry forced the government to address the issue, eventuating in a ban on sow stalls.
However – it’s all too easy to now be complacent and assume everything is resolved. And this is what the industry wants you to believe. But for pigs, the horror is NOT over.
Whilst the ban was a fantastic result and will result in improved welfare for pigs, the ban does not begin until 2016, and even after that date the new regulations will still allow other cruel practices such as farrowing crates and barren concrete fattening pens. Our infographic breaks it down:
New footage shows more suffering
The NZ Pork Board has been trying to reassure consumers about their animal welfare concerns by launching a ‘Pig Care’ accreditation programme but this programme is no more than an internal audit to ensure farmers are adhering to the inadequate standards set in the pig welfare code.
New footage recently shot at a ‘Pig Care’ accredited Canterbury pig farm shows in horrifying detail how the suffering of pigs in New Zealand is very much an ongoing issue.
The conditions investigators filmed show mother pigs in pens so small they are unable even to turn around or properly care for their babies. They can only sit, stand or lie down. Sows are kept in these tiny cages for several weeks whilst nursing their young – as in sow stalls, they lead a miserable existence unable to express their natural behaviours.
The footage also shows that nothing has changed for pigs raised to be slaughtered – they are still crammed in dark, barren, concrete ‘fattening’ pens. Pigs are filmed lying in their own urine, and faeces, showing injuries and signs of lameness. In one scene a dead and rotting pig is left in a filthy pen crammed with other pigs.
Kept in miserable and heartbreaking conditions, for such intelligent animals this life is one of torture.
Shockingly, the conditions on the Canterbury farm are unfortunately legal and typical of the industry.
While all overseas pork imports can be assumed to be factory-farmed, and so to be avoided, it is clear that the majority of New Zealand pork is not much better. The bottom line is that the 100% NZ Pork brand cannot be relied on for high welfare standards. Watch now to discover why it is important to still boycott all factory-farmed products, and why the suffering of pigs must never be forgotten.
Consumer boycotts can make a HUGE difference. Companies are forced to make a change if people stop buying.
The most powerful thing you can do to help these pigs is to keep boycotting all factory farmed pork. Share with your friends and family and encourage them not to support cruelty also.
Find out what more you can do.
Mandy Carter, Campaign Manager