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Greens support battery-farming protester

The Green Party today congratulated a protester who spent two days and nights inside a sow crate to highlight the conditions in which many New Zealand sows are kept.

Ben Griffiths spent around 40 hours inside a sow crate in the window of the Body Shop in Queen Street, Auckland, as part of a week of protest during the International Pork Conference in Ellesley.

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said it was important that pressure continued to be applied to commercial pork producers as change in the industry had to be consumer driven. She welcomed Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton's comments to the conference that "satisfying consumer desires is vital to all food producers".

"The keeping of pigs - which are highly intelligent and sociable animals - in small crates where they cannot even turn around for years at a time is cruel in anybody's language," she said. "We would not allow dogs or other domestic animals to be mistreated in this way.

Ms Kedgley said consumers had been protesting about the battery farming of pigs for a number of years now and that patience with an unresponsive Pork Board was fast running out.

"The Green Party support the calls for the phasing out of extreme confinement systems such as sow crates which have been banned in England and are condemned internationally as cruel and unnecessary," she said.

"Intensive pork 'farming' violates animal welfare legislation, passed last year, which called for an end to farming practices which do not allow animals to express normal patterns of behaviour," she said.

"Once again we call upon pork producers in New Zealand to honour the intent of this legislation, listen to consumers and stop this depraved farming practice. It is outdated and has no place in a civilised society," she said.

"After emerging from a crate after two days Mr Griffiths said he was stiff and bored. Imagine how an animal as intelligent as a dog, and a good size bigger than Mr Griffiths, feels after four years."

Ends

Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6728, 025 270 9088 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 133


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