Farrowing crates for pigs give piglets 'best opportunity of survival', says Pork NZ, as petition calling for ban presented to parliament




A petition urging government to ban the use of farrowing crates for pigs is being presented to parliament today, thought to be the biggest petition in about five years. 

The petition, with 112,844 signatures, was set to be delivered by Green MP Gareth Hughes, Kiwi actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, as well as Buttercup - a live pig, at midday today. 

SAFE say in some cases mother pigs are put in farrowing crates where they're unable to move around and can struggle to lie down. 

However, NZ Pork chair Ian Carter told 1 NEWS farrowing crates were the "best form of looking after the sow new born piglets". 

"It's proven it reduces mortality and gives new-born piglets opportunity of survival," he said. 

"We spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep pigs alive."

A 2016 National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee review of farrowing pig crates in New Zealand found no formal review was necessary into the pigs code of welfare, and it recommended the existing minimum standards remain. 

It did say the length should be considered "to provide clarity that the sow must not touch both the front and back of the farrowing crate simultaneously and to improve compliance". 

"We are continuously looking for better ways to look after our animals," Mr Carter said. "We do implement them when we find a solution."

He said sows were placed in the farrowing crates a few days before birth and usually kept for about 28 days, which was to keep them from rolling onto their young. 

Mr Cater said after birth sows generally spent at least 80 per cent of the time lying down, even if it was in a free farm situation. 

The petition comes after SAFE released hidden camera footage they say is from a factory pig farm in July, 2017. 

SAFE says Labour and the Green Party said they would end the use of farrowing crates. 

In 2012, Greenpeace brought a petition with about 140,000 signatures to parliament against government plans for coal mining and oil exploration.

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