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

Gordon Campbell: On Why Worksafe’s Whakaari/White Island Prosecutions Are Good News

Somewhere in Heaven, Helen Kelly must be smiling about Worksafe’s criminal prosecution of 10 firms and three individuals for their roles in the lead up to the Whakaari /White Island tragedy. In tandem with the subsequent coronial inquest, these court proceedings will hopefully culminate in the creation ( finally!) of a central agency to regulate the adventure tourism sector and improve public safety on matters like risk assessment, safety guidelines, inspection, enforcement and injury reporting... More>>

 

Carbon Neutral Policy: Gov Declares Climate Emergency

The Government has launched a major new initiative to combat climate change that will require the public sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. More>>

ALSO:

Pill Testing: Govt Moves On Drug Checking To Keep Young New Zealanders Safer This Summer

The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little ... More>>

ALSO:

WorkSafe: 13 Parties Charged Over Whakaari/White Island Tragedy

WorkSafe New Zealand today filed charges against 13 parties in relation to the Whakaari/White Island eruption in December last year. “22 people have lost their lives in this tragic event. WorkSafe is tasked with investigating workplace incidents to determine ... More>>

ALSO:


Tax: Government Fulfils Election Undertaking On New Top Tax Rate

The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. More>>

ALSO:

Media: Stuff Holds Itself Accountable For Wrongs To Māori

Stuff has today published the results of an investigation into itself, and issued a public apology, for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, from its first editions to now. Tā Mātou Pono | More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels