25 February 2010
Leaked Pig Code Spells End Of Sow Crates
A leaked copy of the tightly guarded draft pig code reveals why the pork industry threatened legal action to suppress
crucial information related to the banning of sow crates, says national animal advocacy group SAFE.
“A written request to obtain the draft code under the Official Information Act was refused by MAF’s director general who
wrongfully stated that the document did not exist,” says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek. “The draft pig welfare code
has been a closely guarded secret and now we know why.”
The draft code, developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), was to be released for public
notification in December 2009 but was delayed following legal threats from the New Zealand Pork Industry Board.
“According to the draft code, NAWAC intends to reduce the use of sow crates to the first four weeks of a sow’s pregnancy
by the end of 2012 NAWAC also states that a ban on sow crates will be set in place after submissions and economic
analysis have taken place,” says Mr Kriek.
“NAWAC further states there is no scientific evidence that sow crates provide significant animal welfare benefits for
sows compared to alternative systems, and prefers a ban by December 2017,” says Mr Kriek.
SAFE suspects that the legal threats by New Zealand Pork Industry Board have already caused NAWAC to backtrack from the
leaked version and expects the final draft code to be weakened, resulting in more pig suffering.
“The public will be appalled to hear that sows will continue to be confined to these cruel crates for at least seven
years, if not longer,” says Mr Kriek.
SAFE will be urging New Zealanders to make a submission calling for an immediate ban on sow crates once the draft is
released for public consultation.