14 June 2022
The New Zealand pork industry has welcomed an extension to consultation on a controversial draft code of welfare for pigs following a request to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
MPI has agreed to extend the consultation by two weeks to July 8th after discussions with NZPork.
“When the consultation was launched at the end of April, it quickly become clear to us that an eight-week period was insufficient time to allow for well-considered submissions to be made from all industry stakeholders,” says Brent Kleiss, chief executive of NZPork.
“The proposed changes are colossal and unprecedented, the material accompanying the draft code is substantial and there is a large amount of information for farmers and other industry stakeholders to review and assess.
“Given the survival of individual farmers and the industry supply chain is at stake, we are pleased MPI has agreed to our request.”
The draft code, which goes well beyond the welfare requirements in other countries, includes colossal changes to the minimum space allowance required for grower pigs, a ban or significant limitation on the traditional use of farrowing systems (farrowing crates), an effective ban on mating stalls and sets a minimum weaning age of 28 days for piglets.
As it stands, the draft code could result in the deaths of thousands of additional piglets, pig farms shutting down, and force Kiwis to rely on even more imported pork producing using practices that are illegal in New Zealand
“We support science-backed improvements to animal welfare, but the proposed changes could force farmers out of business and put the price of New Zealand born and raised pork out of the reach of many Kiwis,” says Mr Kleiss.
“We encourage anyone interested in the proposals to visit our new website www.supportnzpigfarmers.co.nz, which features information on the drastic changes and enables Kiwis to lodge submissions directly with MPI.”