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Pork Industry buying a fight

25 July 2001

Pork Industry buying a fight

Green Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said she was astounded that the Pork Industry Board had reneged on its commitment to phase out the use of sow crates completely in 2012 and has voted at its AGM to keep using them for the first month of a sow's pregnancy even after the 2012 phase-out.

"I am absolutely astounded that the Pork Board has ignored very strong signals from animal welfare groups, the Green Party, the Minister of Agriculture and consumers and have instead decided to keep using these cruel and out-dated crates for at least another 10 years, and then for four to six weeks of a sow's pregnancy."

Ms Kedgley said the Pork Industry Board had its head in the sand over the issue and was buying a fight with consumers, animal welfare associations and others.

"Sow crates must be completely phased out by 2006. There are no excuses," she said.

Ms Kedgley said it was completely unacceptable to keep sows in these crates for the first four to six weeks of pregnancy and she hoped that consumers would show their abhorence for the practice by boycotting battery-farmed pork and instead buy organic or free-range products.

"It is extremely foolhardy for the Board to renege on their undertakings. All the progress that has been made in negotiations on this issue now appears to be lost. The Board will now find itself once again at war with animal welfare groups and consumers over the issue," she said.

Ms Kedgley said a major campaign against the industry by animal welfare groups and consumers could severely damage the reputation of the New Zealand pork industry, and would inevitably affect pork sales in New Zealand.

Ms Kedgley said the Green Party would be part of that campaign, and would continue to pressure the Government to ensure a complete phase out of the sow crate.

"All of this could be averted if the Board kept its agreement to completely phase out the sow crate which is one of the cruellest farming practices in New Zealand," she said.

"Consumers are appalled when they realise the unbelievable cruelty of the sow crate. I predict that a campaign against the Pork Industry Board will turn into one of the biggest consumer campaigns against an industry that has ever been launched," Ms Kedgley said.

ENDS

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