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Minister challenged over codes

Wednesday 22 December 2004

Minister challenged over abusive battery hen and pig codes

The imminent release of two highly controversial animal welfare codes for pigs and layer hens, has the Minister of Agriculture, Jim Sutton, holding a private media conference for selected media in Wellington at 11am tomorrow.

SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek will attempt to deliver three caged battery hens to the Minister at the media conference in order for him to see first hand the direct suffering his decision will have on animals.

"If the Minister is prepared to sanction cruel farming practices in New Zealand then he must appreciate the impact his actions will have on animals. The Minister will get a chance to look in the eyes of three birds who have experienced the life he is sentencing millions of other birds to endure," says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek.

"The Minister¹s decision to retain battery cages and sow stalls indefinitely in New Zealand will condemn millions of hens and pigs to a life of hell and continued abuse. The Minister¹s pen might as well be a club used to personally bludgeon these animals to death once the Minister signs off these codes."

SAFE has extensively lobbied the Government for a ban on battery cages and sow stalls since 1988. Public opinion also supports a ban of cruel factory farming practices. Internationally, cruel and severe confinement systems are being phased out.

"The Minister¹s own animal welfare advisory committee has admitted battery cages and sow stalls do not comply with legal obligations under the Animal Welfare Act. SAFE questions why the Minister has dismissed over twenty years of international research totalling in excess of 500 scientific reports that proves, unequivocally, that battery cages and sow stalls cause animals to suffer."

SAFE plans to shred the new codes outside the media conference to illustrate the only use these codes are good for is to offer bedding and nesting material for the rescued battery hens.

ENDS


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