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December 1, 2010

 

New Zealand pork prices may increase on sow crate ban

 
 

The prices of New Zealand-grown pork may rise due to a decision to ban sow crates for pigs.

 

The Government is phasing out the controversial crates so that they will be gone by the end of 2015.


The images of large pigs locked in sow crates for 365 days a year highlighted the cruel conditions in many New Zealand pig farms.


It embarrassed the industry and caught the government on the hop but it changed on December 1).


"It is a code that will phase out the use of sow crates by the end of December 2015," Agriculture Minister, David Carter, said. Hence, the way of the future is the usage of large pig pens.


Hawke's Bay pig farmer, John Riordan, said he supports the ban and is already working towards getting rid of his sow crates.
 
"As a farmer I think it is a good thing; clearly the consumer has no appetite for sow crates," he said.

 

Animal welfare campaigners have lobbied successive governments for decades. Pig farms will start the phase out period from 2012 whereby sow stalls will only be allowed to be used for four weeks after mating.


Green MP, Sue Kedgley, has fought tirelessly to see sow crates banned. "It is the most significant change in animal welfare in decades," she said.


The industry said that introducing the measures will cost NZD20 million (US$14.9 million).


"It will financially be very difficult so we need the support of the consumer to purchase local products," Riordan said.


It may also increase the price of pork products. "I do acknowledge that New Zealand pork may now be marginally more expensive than imported pork," Carter said.


New Zealand imports 700,000 kilogrammes of pork every week from overseas countries where sow crates are used and will be used in the years ahead.


Carter said the New Zealand industry should now use the new rules to market Kiwi pork to savvy consumers.

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