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Pork Industry Supports Phasing Out of Gestation Stalls

New Zealand Pork Industry Supports Phasing Out of Gestation Stalls

Statement made by New Zealand Pork Chairman Chris Trengrove and CEO Sam McIvor

The New Zealand pork industry supports the phasing out of gestation stalls by December 2015, announced today by Agriculture Minister David Carter.

We are collaborating with Government, the National Animal Welfare Committee (NAWAC) and farmers to facilitate this next stage in New Zealand pork production.

Today’s collaboration places New Zealand pork producers at the forefront of global animal welfare.

This initiative also provides New Zealand Pork the opportunity to differentiate itself against its global competitors who continue to use gestation stalls.

We recognise that this issue is no longer just a scientific argument of whether or not gestation stalls are better for sow welfare. Consumers prefer gestation stalls are not used – we have listened and we are making a change and removing them.

There will be significant additional costs for our farmers with initial estimates in excess of $20 million over the phase out period. To be successful this initiative will need support from the Government, consumers, the retail sector and the community. This initiative will need to see our farmers paid higher prices for locally produced pork, bacon and ham and we are looking to New Zealanders to support our local industry by buying New Zealand grown products.

We will be continuing consultation and collaboration with farmers, Government and NAWAC over coming months to develop a comprehensive working plan for the phase out by 2015.

We welcome signals from the Government that there could be assistance for famers to help hasten changes and reduce costs during the phase out period. We will be looking to the Government for concessions to help with this including the encouragement of more consistency of the application of the Resource Management Act by local authorities, improved access to skilled labour and ongoing R&D funding to assess new housing options.

We are hopeful that retailers will also support this initiative by moving to only stock gestation stall free pork including imported pork products.

We are committed to collaborating closely with Government to help the industry to phase out gestation stalls over this time-frame and are committed to playing our part to enable this to happen.

ENDS

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