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Spca Launches ‘Open Your Fridge’ Campaign


For release: 16 May 2005



“Shoppers have a key role to play in ending cruel farming practices. When consumers open the fridge they should be aware of how their pork, bacon or eggs got there,” says the Royal New Zealand SPCA’s National Chief Executive, Robyn McDonald

At its annual conference in Rotorua, the SPCA yesterday unveiled ‘Open Your Fridge’, its new education and publicity campaign aimed at mobilising consumers against battery farming.

The campaign comes in the wake of last December’s decision by the government-appointed National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), to put off, until 2009, any consideration of banning battery cages for layer hens or stalls used to confine pregnant sows.

“Government seems reluctant to take a firm stand on such matters, despite polls showing that an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders want these inhumane practices banned,” says Robyn McDonald. In the absence of legislation, we’re asking consumers to vote with their wallets and only purchase eggs, bacon or pork which have been produced in humane conditions.

“Shoppers should look for the SPCA logo on egg cartons which guarantees those eggs are produced in humane, free range or barn conditions. We are considering a similar accreditation system for pork. Harmony Meats currently raises free range organic pork.”

Consumers who wish to protest about industry use of sow stalls and battery cages to their local supermarket can fill in the forms to be found on leaflets and newspaper advertisements associated with the new campaign.

Sow stalls, used by some pig farmers for constraining pregnant females, prevent the pigs from walking or turning around. Most pigs constrained by sow stalls spend virtually their entire lives in this extreme form of confinement. Battery hens spend most of their lives in cramped and bare environments which prevent them from performing most of their normal behaviours, including walking, stretching their wings, pecking, scratching, nesting and dust-bathing. The hens tend to suffer from severe feather loss, due to constant rubbing against cage walls and other hens in the cage, and are also prone to crippling leg weaknesses.

In recent years, the Royal New Zealand SPCA has spearheaded high profile campaigns calling for a legislative ban on sow stalls and battery cages. More than 64,000 submissions were sent to the Agriculture Minister during 2001 calling for a ban on sow stalls whilst 87% of those asked told a Colmar Brunton poll that they favoured a ban.

The following year, over 120,000 submissions were sent to the minister calling for an end to battery cages. Meanwhile, 79% of those asked told Colmar Brunton pollsters that they would be prepared to pay higher prices for eggs if that meant hens no longer needed to live in battery cages.

“We may have to wait many years for politicians to change the law and then many years more for that law change to be fully implemented. But consumer pressure can help alter these abhorrent practices, by appealing to the good commercial sense and social responsibility of the supermarkets we shop in,” says Robyn McDonald.


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