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Sow Stall Ban In Sight

Royal New Zealand Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals

Hopes are high for an end to sow stalls, following the despatch of more than 64,000 submissions to the Minister of Agriculture, calling for a total ban.

The submissions resulted from the anti-sow stall campaign launched by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in October last year, in a bid to influence an upcoming government review of the Welfare Code for Pigs.

Sown stalls, used by a minority of pig farmers for containing pregnant females, have been criticised as too small to allow sows to walk or even turn around during their weeks or months of confinement.

"Our campaign has been hugely successful in encouraging New Zealanders to express their opposition to this cruel farming practice. It's now up to Government to recognise the extent of opposition to sow stalls and ensure they are banned at an early date," says the Royal New Zealand SPCA's National Campaign Co-ordinator, Hans Kriek.

"The impressive response to our call for submissions has not come as a complete surprise. A Colmar Brunton Poll taken in November 2001 showed 87% of those surveyed in favour of a sow stall ban. Clearly New Zealanders have had a gut's full of abusive factory farming systems," he says.

Mr Kriek says the SPCA expects sow stalls to be banned, once the committee reviewing the Pig Welfare Code has reported to the Minister of Agriculture later this year.

"Anything short of a total ban would be a disgrace. Caring consumers would feel betrayed and ignored and could well respond with a boycott of all pork products," he says.

The SPCA is also promising a hard-hitting campaign against battery hen farming ahead of this year's scheduled review of the Welfare Code for Layer Hens.

"The cramped environment of a battery cage prevents hens from doing most of the things which come naturally to them, including walking, stretching their wings, pecking, scratching or dust-bathing. They tend to suffer from severe feather loss as well as leg weaknesses resulting from lack of exercise. And, in addition, they often have their beaks cut," says Hans Kriek.

"Government reviews of animal welfare codes take place once every ten years, so it's of paramount importance that people use this year's review process to make their opposition to battery cages known. It could be a case of 'now or never'," he adds.

As with its anti-sow stall campaign, the SPCA will be supported by The Body Shop in its campaign against battery hen farming.

Body Shop Director Ashleigh Ogilvy-Lee says that, following the success of the sow stall campaign, her team is looking forward to helping free New Zealand's battery hens.

"We consider battery cages to be simply disgusting and the sooner they are banned the better," she says.

For further information, please contact:

Hans Kriek
National Campaign Coordinator
Royal New Zealand SPCA
04-389 8044
025 679 0769

Released by Ian Morrison, Matter of Fact Communications
Tel: 09 575 3223, Fax: 09 575 3220, Email: matfact@ww.co.nz

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