Ill-informed regulations could wipe out pork sector

Today’s release of a new draft welfare code for pigs shows once again how ill-informed this Labour Government is, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger says.


“The code includes enormous changes to New Zealand’s pork sector with unachievable minimum standards on farmers.


“Animal welfare groups and the Labour Government are being idealistic if they think this proposed code will achieve better standards.


“The proposed changes will mean almost every indoor or outdoor pig farm in the country will have to be partially or totally rebuilt, with bans or limitations to the traditional farrowing crate system, which protects piglets from being crushed by their 300kg+ mothers until they’re weaned.


“NZ Pork say these changes could lead to the deaths of an additional 60,000 piglets each year. This is the total opposite of what the Government is trying to achieve.


“Like any industry, the pork sector would welcome constructive changes, but this code could effectively wipe out pig farming in this country.


“We already have a shortage of pig farmers and currently 60 per cent of pork consumed in New Zealand already comes from overseas. These changes would mean we will be totally reliant on imported pork products.


“It doesn’t make sense that we would make our welfare code even more stringent than the rest of world, then import pork from countries where standards vary. It’s better that we concentrate on growing our pork industry, which already has high welfare standards.”