Pigs Visit Parliament
6 December 2001
Libby the piglet and Boris the boar visited Parliament today in a bid to convince MPs of the need for humane treatment for their species.
Along with Libby and Boris were approximately 40 Junior Members of the Royal New Zealand SPCA, aged 4 to 16, dressed in pig masks and costumes and calling for the abolition of sow stalls.
The 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 Junior SPCA members handed over 120 brightly-coloured piggy banks, one for each Member of Parliament, to Green Party List MP, Sue Kedgley. The piggy banks are intended to convey the message: "We are banking on your support". "The use of sow crates is one of the cruelest practices in New Zealand farming and New Zealanders are united in their wish to see these crates banned," said Ms Kedgley. Libby, rescued after hunters killed her mother, has been hand-reared by the SPCA. Boris, a Russian boar, is fully house-trained. Their visit to Parliament comes just two days after an opinion poll signalled massive public support for a ban on 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 sow stalls by 2006 at the latest, with 5% disagreeing and 8% undecided. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. . "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 the SPCA's national campaign coordinator, Hans Kriek.
"Anyone wanting proof of pigs' high intelligence and lovely natures needs only to meet Libby and Boris. It's outrageous to lock such sensitive creatures in small, tight cages for almost the whole of their lives
"Hopefully, opposition to sow stalls by an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders will ensure that this disgusting practice is banned very soon," he adds.