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Poll Gives Thumbs-Down To Sow Stalls

An opinion poll published today shows that New Zealanders are saying "No" to sow stalls.

According to the Colmar Brunton Poll, 86% of those surveyed believed that keeping pigs in sow stalls was unacceptable. In contrast, only 5% believed the practice to be acceptable whilst 9% were undecided.

The poll also registered an 87% majority in favour of banning the stalls by 2006 at the latest, with 5% disagreeing and 8% undecided. The survey of a representative sample of 500 New Zealanders has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

Hans Kriek, national campaign coordinator for the Royal New Zealand SPCA, describes the poll result as a massive endorsement of the SPCA's current campaign to have sow stalls banned.

Sow stalls are small metal crates used to confine pregnant pigs. The crates are so constricting that the sows cannot walk or even turn around. The frustration and boredom caused by this extreme form of confinement can ultimately drive animals insane.

"The huge opposition to sow stalls demonstrated by the poll is significant as Government is required by the 1999 Animal Welfare Act to take public opinion into account when setting standards for the treatment of animals," says Mr Kriek.

"Even before these findings were published, we had strong evidence of New Zealanders' concern over this issue, with over 20,000 submissions to Government in favour of banning sow stalls lodged since our campaign commenced in mid-October," he says.

News of the poll result comes just ahead of the planned descent on Parliament this Thursday (December 6th) of a delegation of junior SPCA members, aged between five and twelve.

Dressed in pig masks and costumes, they will be handing over 120 piggy banks, one for each Member of Parliament, with the message, "We are banking on your support". Green Party List MP, Sue Kedgley is to receive the piggy banks on behalf of parliamentarians.

Joining the delegation will be Libby, a piglet hand-reared by the SPCA after hunters killed her mother.

"Anyone wanting proof of pigs' high intelligence and lovely natures needs only to meet Libby. It's outrageous to lock such sensitive creatures in small, tight cages for almost the whole of their lives," says Hans Kriek..

"Hopefully, opposition to sow stalls by an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders will ensure that this disgusting practice is banned very soon," he adds.

Ends


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