Secretly filmed footage showing what has been described
as ''disgusting and squalid'' conditions at a Canterbury pig
farm is not typical of the wider pork industry, industry
The footage, which aired on TVNZ's Sunday programme on
Sunday night, showed rats running over pigs, cramped
conditions, and a dead pig lying among the living.
Both the pork industry and the Ministry for Primary
Industries have come under fire from animal rights groups,
while the Green Party says it highlights the need for an
independent Commissioner for Animal Welfare to be
New Zealand Pork chairman Ian Carter, a North Otago pig
farmer, said the farm was not condoned by the industry and
was not typical of a New Zealand commercial pig farm.
It did not meet the industry's expectations for high animal
welfare standards or appropriate standards for the production
It was disappointing a farm had dropped below acceptable
NZ Pork was investing ''significant effort and resources'' to
reduce the risk of a farm slipping below standard in the
future, Mr Carter said.
''While the process of improvement will always be an ongoing
one, I am pleased that this farm is not a typical case,'' he
NZ Pork did not answer questions about what sort of response
it had had since the programme had aired and whether there
would be an economic impact on the industry.
A spokeswoman said the industry body understood that few New
Zealanders grasped farming operations and standards
How consumers felt and what they wanted was ''vital'' for the
industry and that was why it had responded by developing,
implementing and continually improving independent auditing
to provide increasingly transparent assurances.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the vast majority
of farmers did a good job of looking after their animals, and
there would always be isolated cases ''but this is not
representative of the wider pork industry''.
Anyone with concerns over animal welfare should report them
immediately to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
''They take these issues very seriously and there are strict
penalties for mistreating animals,'' he said.
Animal welfare law was being strengthened with the Animal
Welfare Amendment Bill, before Parliament, which would make
legislation more transparent and easier to enforce.
Save Animals From Exploitation (Safe) head of campaigns Mandy
Carter said MPI could clearly not be trusted to enforce
animal welfare legislation, as it had an ''obvious conflict
''They are there to protect the farmers and animal welfare is
not taken seriously enough,'' she said.
Green Party animal welfare spokeswoman Mojo Mathers said
establishing an independent Commissioner for Animal Welfare
was the only impartial way to ensure that economic interests
were not put ahead of ''decent'' animal welfare standards.
A statement from MPI said the ministry was disappointed to
see the Canterbury farm had ''regressed to the current
In April last year, following a complaint from Safe, MPI
officials, including a vet, inspected the piggery and found
it did not meet the minimum standards set out in the Animal
Welfare (Pigs) Code of Welfare relating to hygiene and
MPI made several further visits to the farm and, by August,
was satisfied that significant improvements had been made and
it complied with the minimum standards of the code.
Last Wednesday, TVNZ showed MPI footage allegedly filmed at
the property in April this year.
''MPI was concerned, as members of the public will be, at the
general conditions of the piggery depicted.''
The ministry was concerned it only now had the information
brought to its attention when Safe appeared to have held the
footage since April.
MPI was scheduled to revisit the farm in August, as part of
its regular monitoring programme, but had brought that
forward and visited last week.
While acknowledging the farm was once again in ''poor
condition'', the animals were assessed as generally being in
There were no dead animals observed, a building with exposed
wiring featured in the footage was no longer in use, and the
farmer had recently undertaken vermin control work.
The ministry would revisit the farm to issue an Animal
Welfare Act Statement of Direction to make sure the farmer
had an auditable process to address hygiene, vermin control
and disposal of dead animals.