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Greens Applaud Sutton's Sow Crate Comments

Green Party Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said she was delighted with calls from Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton for pig farmers to completely phase out the use of sow crates by 2006.

Speaking to the Pork Industry Board's annual conference today Mr Sutton said that by 2006 80 per cent of New Zealand pork producers would have phased out the use of sow crates and he did not see why the entire industry could not be rid of them by then.

Mr Sutton also criticised the Pork Board for failing to promote free-range and organic pork products, taking too long to draft a new animal welfare code for pigs and for not doing enough to differentiate New Zealand pork from inported pork.

"The Greens are extremely pleased with Mr Sutton's comments. The Minister has given the Pork Board an overdue hurry up and has echoed the sentiments of New Zealand consumers," said Ms Kedgley.

"Sow crates are hideously cruel and cause pigs untold misery. Animal welfare groups, consumers, the Green Party and now the Agriculture Minister all agree that the time has come to abolish them and we expect to see this conference announce the complete phase out of sow crates by 2006."

Ms Kedgley said any use of the crates was completely unacceptable, including for the first four weeks of a sow's pregnancy.

"The people of New Zealand have sent pork producers the strongest message and today Mr Sutton has strongly reinforced those sentiments. The use of sow crates is abhorent to most New Zealanders and we do not want them used here," she said.

"The onus is now on the Pork Board and producers should prepare for a major consumer and public backlash if they fail to announce the complete phase out of sow crates by 2006 at their conference tomorrow."

Ends




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