Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Superbugs found in overseas pork products

Superbugs found in overseas pork products from one of New Zealand’s top import markets

Rising concern about superbugs underlines need to improve pig welfare around the world

13 December 2018, LONDON — Bacteria resistant to antibiotics most critically important to humans has been found in pork from supermarket shelves in Spain, Brazil and Thailand. The routine overuse of antibiotics is propping up low-welfare practices in pig farming and contributing to the superbug crisis.

World Animal Protection tested pork from the shelves of supermarkets in Australia, Brazil, Spain and Thailand, finding ‘superbugs’ resistant to antibiotics of highest critical importance to humans in three of the four countries.

No testing on pork on New Zealand supermarket shelves has been done, but this country imports significant volumes of pork (65%) currently unlabeled, from overseas producers where animal welfare standards can be low, and antibiotic use can be high; meaning antibiotic resistant superbugs could be found here.

The results shockingly highlight how the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming has become a band-aid solution to prevent cramped and stressed animals from getting sick, while also contributing to the superbug crisis.

The findings support existing evidence that routine overuse of antibiotics in farm animals is a significant contributor to the rise of superbugs, as recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN. Superbugs in the food chain can cause food poisoning, blood poisoning, urinary tract infections and in some cases, even death.

65% of pork consumed in New Zealand is imported, with pork from Spain the largest share and Australia also sitting in the top five countries we import pork from. Often the country of origin on processed pork packets is unclear and consumers do not know how animals were raised and whether antibiotics were used responsibly on farms.

Changes to country of origin labelling laws in 2019 should give consumers further information but supermarkets selling pork in New Zealand need to ensure high animal welfare standards regardless of where pigs are raised.

Three quarters of the world’s antibiotics are used in farming annually, with the highest use in pigs. Routine overuse is often associated with low-welfare practices.

Some of the cruel practices typically associated with low-welfare farms, that are leading to lifelong suffering and overuse of antibiotics on pig farms around the world include:

- Piglets are taken from their mothers far too early and mother pigs are used as breeding machines, kept in steel cages, unable to turn around and enduring unnecessary stress[1]

- Piglets are cruelly mutilated often with no pain relief: their tails are cut, their teeth are ground or clipped, their ears notched, and in many parts of the world male piglets are castrated[2]

- Pigs are cramped in dark, squalid warehouses forced to lie in their own waste. Stressful conditions that provide the perfect breeding ground for the spread of infection, leading to routine overuse of antibiotics.

World Animal Protection, Head of Farming, Jacqueline Mills said: “We tested pork products to see for ourselves how the pig industry contributes to superbugs, and to provide evidence to supermarkets to urge them to take responsibility and help to raise pigs right.

“Factory farm conditions for pigs cause them immense pain and stress, which involves a steady overuse of antibiotics. But there is a better way. Supermarkets must demand their suppliers improve the welfare of pigs. Higher-welfare systems allow for responsible antibiotic use, as has been proven in Sweden.

“We need to see an end to close confinement and barren environments, so pigs can live in social groups in comfortable environments with opportunities to express natural behaviour. Supermarkets should be setting the bar far higher to ensure the animals in their supply chains are less stressed, and antibiotics are used responsibly in farming.”

World Animal Protection is working with producers globally to develop higher welfare systems, to get pigs out of cages and into social groups with manipulable materials to allow for expression of natural behaviour.

________________________________________

[1] In New Zealand, pregnancy cages are banned. Pigs may still be kept in cages for giving birth and lactating

[2] In New Zealand, castration at any age and tail cutting (after 7 days old) must only be performed by a veterinarian with pain relief.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

RNZ Live Updates: SkyCity Fire Brings Auckland CBD To A Halt

The fire at Auckland's SkyCity international convention centre has been raging for more than a day resulting in nearby offices being shut, roads closed and health warnings being issued...

• The fire broke on the roof of the SkyCity international convention centre just after 1pm Tuesday.

• Fire and Emergency manager Ron Devlin says the plan is to "sacrifice the roof". Once materials from the roof have fallen in, crews can go into the fifth floor and put the fire out, he says. Photo: RNZ / Danielle Street More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Simon Bridges And Political Correctness

Having failed all year at being a credible alternative Prime Minister, National leader Simon Bridges has lowered his aspirational target this week to something more within his range. More>>

Bullying: Police Commissioner Announces Review

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today announced an independent review of the systems and processes NZ Police has in place to address complaints of bullying. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Post-Cab: Now We Are Two

Questions covered Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' comments on the potential closure of Mediaworks' television channels, the Auckland light rail planning process, the select committee report on the Zero Carbon Bill and its methane target range... More>>

Court Issues New Guildines: Revamp Of Meth Sentencing Welcomed

The court accepted submissions by both the New Zealand Bar Association and the New Zealand Law Society that rather than solely focusing on the quantity of meth involved, there should be greater focus on the role of the offender. More>>

ALSO:

'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>

ALSO:

Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>

ALSO:

Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels