The banning of sow crates before 2016 is great news considering the efforts by Soil & Health-Organic NZ, the Green Party, SAFE and other NGOs in calling for such a ban, but subsidising cruel operators during the phase out as indicated, is not fair on the organic and free range pork producers who have already been using more animal friendly methods of production, according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ.
“Rewarding recalcitrant animal abusers sends a message to other farming sectors that animal welfare changes need only come with government support,” said Soil & Health-Organic NZ spokesperson Steffan Browning.
“Agriculture Minister David Carter has done well to broker a deal with the pork industry, but he could have also achieved a reward for all good farmers by implementing Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and banning imports of meat that are produced to a lower standard than New Zealand.”
“SAFE has pointed out that there will still be potentially 15,000 sows putting up with barbaric sow crates ahead of the ban’s enforcement, and there needs to be consumer labeling warning of pork products sourced from such processes, if there is going to be a speedy phase out.”
“Well done to the animal activists who have repeatedly brought examples of barbaric animal welfare to the public. Battery hens must be next.”
Soil & Health-Organic NZ has a vision of an Organic 2020 where best practice animal welfare is the norm. Organic farming has strict rules to ensure high animal welfare practices.
The new Animal Welfare Code of Practice for pigs is available at with the Sow Crate excerpt further below
Minimum Standard No. 11 – Managing Dry Sows
(a) Sows may only be confined in mating stalls for service for no longer than one week.
(b) Where sows and mated gilts are group housed, they must be managed to minimise the effects of aggression.
(c) Where sows and mated gilts are housed in dry sow stalls, they must be able to stand in their natural stance without contact with any side of the stall and be able to lie comfortably on their sides without disturbing neighbouring sows.
(d) Sows in stalls must have a dry, smooth, non-slip sleeping area.
(e) Between 3 December 2012 and 3 December 2015 mated sows and gilts must not be confined in dry sow stalls for more than four weeks after mating.
(f) After 3 December 2015 mated sows and gilts must not be confined in dry sow stalls after mating. If individually confined in a pen, sows must have sufficient space so that they can stand up, turn around without touching the walls, and lie comfortably in a natural position, and be provided with separate dunging, lying and eating areas.
(g) Individual pigs that are not coping well must be provided with alternative management.
(h) Pigs must not be restrained by tethering.