2 Jul 2009

Farm owner cleared of mistreating pigs

9:03 pm on 2 July 2009

A piggery owner near Levin has been cleared of mistreating his animals.

Colin Kay's pig farm was at the centre of a Television New Zealand current affairs programme which alleged widespread cruelty against animals.

The Sunday programme sparked public outrage in May after secretly filmed images aired showed pigs at Mr Kay's farm living in squalid conditions.

But an investigation by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has cleared Mr Kay.

MAF inspected the Kuku Beach Road piggery for more than two hours in May and says its investigation shows there were no breaches of the current Code of Welfare for Pigs.

Mr Kay says he expected the result. "That farm was run to high standards of welfare and there's good staff. The positive outcome of the report is really a reflection on the ability of the farm manager and his staff."

Mr Kay says the piggery will be farmed until the resource consent runs out in two-and-a-half years.

A spokesperson for Save Animals From Exploitation says MAF's findings are not surprising and the current laws protect farmers, not the animals.

Hans Kriek says it is currently legal to keep pigs in sow stalls. But he says if the public want better living conditions for pigs, they should stop buying sow stall farmed products.

The Code of Welfare for Pigs is being reviewed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand pork industry says it has bounced back from bad publicity it experienced after the programme aired.

New Zealand pork chief executive Sam McIvor says despite the initial public backlash, pork sales are now back to normal.

Mr McIvor says results of the MAF investigation are conclusive and he is pleased the Kuku Beach farm has been vindicated.