New Zealand pig farmers are supporting a petition calling for imported pork to be required to meet the same animal welfare standards as New Zealand pork.
Approximately 60 per cent of pork consumed in New Zealand is imported with most of it being produced in countries that farm pigs using practices that are illegal in this country.
“New Zealand’s pork sector operates to high welfare standards compared to many other countries who have less rigorous health, welfare and environmental regimes,” says David Baines, chief executive of NZPork, which represents New Zealand pig farmers.
“Our commercial pig herd also has a high health status and is not affected by the diseases that are having a very serious impact on pork industries in many other countries.
“That’s why we are seeking Kiwis’ support for cheaper foreign pork to be forced to meet New Zealand’s high animal welfare standards. It’s time for this cheaper imported pork to either shape up or ship out.”
New Zealand imports pork from a range of countries including the United States, Spain, Canada and Poland. Overseas, some pig farmers routinely castrate all male piglets, often without pain relief. In New Zealand, this procedure is rarely ever carried out, and if it is, only a veterinarian can do so, and mandatory pain relief is required.
Gestation stalls for pregnant sows are also banned in New Zealand. The EU allows the stalls for the first 28 days of pregnancy and most states in the US allow them for the entirety of a sow’s pregnancy.
Unlike other countries, the use of antibiotics as growth promotants is prohibited in New Zealand and porcine somatotropin, a pig growth hormone, is not used here.
“A good tip to check where your pork comes from is to look at the label,” says Mr Baines.
“Look for a 100% NZ Pork label. If it says ‘made in New Zealand with local and imported ingredients’, then chances are it is imported.”
Check out the petition here