Sow Stall Ban First Important Step
1 December 2010
The government has taken the first crucial step to improve pig welfare in New Zealand by announcing it will ban the use of sow stalls from 2016.
SAFE, which has fiercely campaigned for three-years to end sow stalls and farrowing crates, says it welcomes the announcement, although it is disappointed that the ban excludes farrowing crates - an equally cruel confinement system.
“SAFE is delighted the government has finally accepted that sow stalls are cruel and in breach of welfare legislation. The five-year phase-out period, however, still means that over 15,000 sows will continue to suffer in sow stalls until 2016. It is great to know sow stalls are finally going after so much lobbying and campaigning but we remain mindful that pigs are not yet free,” says SAFE director Hans Kriek.
“With a ban on sow stalls now in place, SAFE will focus its attention on farrowing crates, which are used by over 60 per cent of the pig industry. The organisation will continue to lobby for a ban on farrowing crates, as research shows these confinement systems are just as cruel as sow stalls,” says Mr Kriek.
Since the government is unlikely to take further action in the short term, SAFE is stepping up its consumer focus and beginning to encourage supermarkets to take meaningful animal welfare initiatives by not stocking pork products from suppliers who continue to use sow stalls.
“It is up to consumers to get the pigs out of their cruel crates sooner than 2016,” says Mr Kriek. “Eight out of ten New Zealanders are opposed to sow stalls and farrowing crates. SAFE plans to urge New Zealand supermarkets to follow the example of Coles, Australia’s second largest supermarket chain, by refusing to buy pork from farms that still use sow stalls.”
“Supermarkets must start taking some responsibility for how animals are being raised on factory farms. Consumers don’t want pork products produced on factory farms and it is time supermarkets heeded the wishes of the New Zealand public,” says Mr Kriek.
"It is encouraging to see New Zealand following the lead of the UK, which banned sow stalls over a decade ago, but there is a long way to go before we see an end to pig cruelty in New Zealand,” says Mr Kriek.