It's A Long Time In A Crate, Mate!
Green MP Sue Kedgley today said claims by the Chief Executive of the Pork Industry Board that sows prefer being confined in sow crates were offensive and outrageous.
On The Holmes Show tonight Angus Davidson from the Pork Board defended the Board's decision not to phase out sow crates, saying the use of the crates had strong animal welfare benefits and that sows actually preferred to be in them.
The Board has decided to reduce the use of the sow crate after 2012 but to keep using the crates indefinitely for the first month of a sows pregnancy.
"Pigs are intelligent animals and are very curious about their environments. Indeed, some scientsts believe they are more intelligent than dogs. Certainly, they are the most intelligent and sensitive creatures we exploit for human meat.
"To suggest that these intelligent and sociable animals prefer being incarcerated in a small steel cage for months on end is simply offensive and insulting to New Zealanders."
Ms Kedgley repeated her call for consumers to boycott pork, unless it was labelled as organic or free range, until the Pork Industry Board was forced to change its cruel position.
Ms Kedgley said the Green Party undertook extensive negotiations with the Pork Industry Board and had put in a budget bid for financial assistance for pig farmers if they were prepared to phase out sow crates completely in a short period of time, but the bid was rejected by the Government.
"The agreement was there, the will was there, but the money was not," she said.
Ms Kedgley said that by 2006 80 per cent of pig farmers will no longer use sow crates and there was no reason at all why the remaining 20 per cent could not also do the same.
"Another ten years of use of the sow crate, and from then on for the first month of every pregnancy is, in the words of Paul Holmes, 'a long time time in a crate, mate!' It's as simple as that."