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Supermarket shoppers rethink buying pork

Cruel confinement of pigs prompts supermarket shoppers to rethink on buying pork

Pigs are amongst the most intensively farmed animals on the planet, suffering at every stage of their lives, and a new study for World Animal Protection has found that:

• 92% of people in NZ believe it is important that pigs are reared in conditions with high welfare standards.*

• With only 3% of New Zealanders saying they would definitely still buy pork knowing that mother pigs are confined in cages, unable to move around, when giving birth and rearing their young.*

As the demand for cheap pork continues to grow here and around the world, factory farming is working animals harder than ever: 79% of people in NZ found the harsh reality of industrial pig farming here in NZ (with Farrowing Crates) and around the world (with varying Sow Stalls and Farrowing Crates) ‘upsetting’, ‘wrong’ or ‘shocking’.*

That ‘harsh reality’ involving cruel factory-farm practices, such as:

- Three out of four of the world’s mother pigs remain in cages. Used as breeding machines, their young taken from them, these pigs spend their lives in steel cages no bigger than a fridge

- Piglets are being cruelly mutilated often with no pain relief: their tails are cut, their teeth are ground or clipped, their ears notched, and most male piglets are castrated

Squashed together in dark, squalid warehouses forced to lie in their own waste. These cramped, stressful conditions provide the perfect breeding ground for the spread of infection, leading to routine, indiscriminate use of antibiotics.

With around 60% of pork consumed in NZ being imported (some from countries using pig-farming practices that NZ has banned) and around 70% of pig farms using Farrowing Crates in NZ, this ‘upsetting’ consumer feedback is not good news for supermarkets in New Zealand.

Factory farming methods are about increased animal productivity; fuelling an increased consumption of cheap meat with little regard for animal welfare explains Ben Pearson, Head of Campaigns New Zealand at World Animal Protection:

“Low welfare industrial farming conditions for pigs can lead to severe physical pain and psychological distress as they are unable to express natural foraging and nesting behaviour.

“It doesn’t have to be this way here in NZ or around the world. 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 hold the power to create better lives for pigs. We are encouraging customers of leading supermarkets, around the world, to let them know they expect higher welfare standards for pork products, with the guarantee that pigs are raised right.”

World Animal Protection is working with global producers to develop higher welfare systems, enabling pigs to be kept out of cages and in social groups. We are appealing to the public to help drive change by telling the supermarkets they shop in, to shift to higher welfare standards when sourcing pork.

Ben Pearson concludes: “Higher welfare is good for animals, good for business and good for people. Good animal welfare reduces stress, injury and disease, decreasing the use of antibiotics, and providing high quality and safe pork for you and your family.”

World Animal Protection is asking the public to sign their petition and demand supermarkets make a promise to sell pork from pigs that have been raised right.

Find out more here: Raise Pigs Right


Notes to Editors

1. For media interviews, images, or video clips please contact:elainemcnee@worldanimalprotection.org.nz or Tel: 021 452 469.
3. Read the – A Pig’s Tale – Report on exposing the facts behind factory farming.
5. Four studies were conducted by World Animal Protection between October 2017 and March 2018 covering 11 countries and five continents:
• USA: “Pigs and Retailers Strategic Market Assessment”

• Australia, Brazil and Thailand: “International Attitudes towards Pig Welfare and Retailer Responsibilities”

• Canada, Chile, Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden and UK: “Pig Welfare and the Global Consumer”

• China: “Awareness and attitudes to pig welfare in China”

World Animal Protection:

World Animal Protection (formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals) has moved the world to protect animals for the last 50 years. World Animal Protection works to give animals a better life. Its activities include working with companies to ensure high standards of welfare for the animals in their care, working with governments and other stakeholders to prevent wild animals being cruelly traded, trapped or killed, and saving the lives of animals and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them in disaster situations.

World Animal Protection influences decision makers to put animals on the global agenda, and it inspires people to protect animals and to change animals’ lives for the better. More information on World Animal Protection can be found at: www.worldanimalprotection.org.nz

*Methodology of Survey:

Polling company Voodoo carried out the global Survey on behalf of World Animal Protection and involved interviews with more than 1000 consumers conducted in each country, including New Zealand.


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