Proposed changes for pig farmers simply bringing farming into line with the law – SAFE

SAFE is urging kiwis who want to see the caging of pigs banned to make their thoughts known on the draft code of welfare for pigs.

The draft, put out by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, proposes a ban on farrowing crates or limiting their use to 72 hours.

SAFE is calling for a complete ban on the use of farrowing crates.

SAFE CEO Debra Ashton said farrowing crates are cruel and do not provide for the basic health and behavioural needs of mother pigs.

“Alternative systems that provide greater behavioural freedom for mother pigs are already in use on nearly half of pig farms in Aotearoa,” said Ashton.

The consultation is the result of a judicial review bought by NZALA and SAFE, challenging the continued use of farrowing crates for mother pigs. In 2020 the High Court ruled that the Minister of Agriculture and NAWAC acted illegally when they failed to phase out farrowing crates.

“A ban on farrowing crates is long overdue.”

“Parliament signalled seven years ago that farrowing crates would need to be phased out. And following the 2020 High Court Decision, these changes will bring pig farmers in line with the law.”

This should come as no surprise. The Animal Welfare Amendment Act 2015 signalled that farrowing crates would have to be phased out. The Minister explained at the time that the Bill gives farmers “the time they need to make changes”.
About 45% of pigs are farmed outdoors, most of which are free farmed without the use of farrowing crates. Studies have shown that with selective breeding for good mothers and good animal management, alternative farrowing systems can produce the same, if not better, results than farrowing crates.

“Farmers have an obligation to meet the needs of the Animal Welfare Act. Failure to do so would mean that they will be breaking the law.”

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