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Pig welfare campaigners target pork conference

7 June 2009
Media Release

Pig Farmers Remain ‘Pigheaded‘
Pig welfare campaigners target national pork conference

Pig welfare has become a serious concern for the New Zealand public however animal advocates say the pig industry remains ‘pigheaded’ and is not taking the welfare of the animals seriously.

Pig farmers, pork processors, veterinarians and consultants will discuss getting more productivity out of pigs during the ‘Advancing Pork Production’ conference in Palmerston North on Monday. National animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the primary focus of the pork industry right now should be the welfare of its animals, not simply how to exploit them further.

SAFE will be outside the conference to demand the pig industry abandons cruel farming practices, along with other animal rights and welfare organisations.

“The New Zealand pig industry has been exposed as using extremely cruel confinement systems where pregnant sows are kept in small crates. We are holding them accountable for animal cruelty and will be reminding those within the pig industry that they need to take immediate action to improve pig welfare,” says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek.

“The public outcry that followed the Sunday programme on TV One should have sent a clear message to the industry that it is time to change their cruel practices. However conference agenda topics such as ‘The Growth Potential of New Zealand Pigs’ and ‘Pork Flavour and Composition’ show that the industry remains more interested in its profits than addressing serious animal welfare problems,” says Mr Kriek.

In New Zealand over 20,000 pregnant sows are confined in crates merely 60 centimetres wide. These animals can suffer leg weakness and other health problems and often exhibit unnatural behaviour such as bar biting, indicating that they are under severe stress.

Pork conference protest details
Starts 9am on Monday, 8 June, outside the Kingsgate Hotel at 110 Fitzherbert Avenue in Palmerston North.

The protest will be followed by a public meeting at 7pm at the Palmerston North City Library on George Street.


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