Cassidy Toms (12) in the Octagon promotes free range
farming on Saturday at a national rally against factory
farming. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The ''pig-headed'' pork industry must stop using sow
crates, Animal rights group Safe proclaimed in the Octagon on
But the pork industry's head says the farming method stops
sows accidentally killing a third of their litter and must
About 200 people in the Octagon on Saturday attended a
national day of action against factory farming.
Protest sign slogans among the crowd included: ''Don't
Stomach Cruelty'', ''Meat is Murder'' and ''Pigs Deserve
Safe members and politicians from the Green, Labour and the
InternetMANA parties spoke at rallies in Dunedin,
Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland.
At the Dunedin rally were Greens co-leader Metiria Turei,
Labour Dunedin South MP Clare Curran and InternetMANA
candidate Andrew LePine.
Safe members gathered signatures for a petition asking John
Key to end intensive pig farming in New Zealand and to put an
immediate phase-out date on farrowing crates.
Safe Dunedin volunteer co-ordinator Leo La delle said he was
''shocked and saddened'' by pig farming in New Zealand and
farrowing crates failed to meet the obligations of the Animal
Welfare Act, as the sows could not express normal behaviours,
such as turning around.
Farmwatch volunteer Carl Scott said farrowing crates were
used regularly in Otago, including in Hampden by New Zealand
Pork chairman Ian Carter.
Mr Carter, talking to the Otago Daily Times from his
pig farm on Saturday, said the slogans used in the Octagon
rally revealed an agenda to end to all animal farming, which
had great implications for the New Zealand economy.
''This is wider ... than just our industry,'' he warned.
Farrowing crates gave a piglet a 33% higher chance of
survival and allowed a sow its ''critical'' needs after
The 250kg sows wanted to be in an area secure from predators,
where its 1.5kg piglets had access to food, water, warmth and
shelter, he said.
''There's a whole lot of reasons we do what we do and largely
it is to protect the animal.''
If a sow had too much room to move it would squash many
piglets, he said.
Animal welfare groups' desire for pigs to be farmed among
''spring grass and daffodils'' was unrealistic.
''Our animals don't get any nutrient value from grass and
piglets are being born nearly every week of the year, so any
extreme weather event will compromise our newborns.''
The industry used the term ''farrowing pen'' rather than
crate because it restricted just the sow for a time after
''More than 90% of the pigs have freedom of movement.''
Farrowing pens were the most commonly used pig-farming system
in the world, he said.