Monday, April 22, 2024

Pig welfare code unlikely this term

Neal Wallace
New welfare standards unlikely before election.
In 2022 the pork sector shared its proposed code reforms, including no longer allowing sows to be housed in mating stalls.
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A decision on a new Code of Welfare for Pigs is unlikely before the election.

Associate Agriculture Minister Jo Luxton said she is still working through what changes to the code will look like, and this requires wading through factors and perspectives, including mitigation and transitions for farmers.

“When we’ve worked through this, I will take a proposal to Cabinet for a decision,” Luxton said. “I cannot confirm at this stage when this could be, but most likely post-election.”

Luxton said the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has submitted its proposals for changes to the regulations, as have the Ministry for Primary Industries and NZ Pork. 

NZ Pork chief executive Brent Kleiss said the sector has not been notified of any decisions about proposed changes.

“There remains significant uncertainty among our farmers about what changes will be needed, especially given the potential level of investment and the lengthy time required to obtain resource consents from councils,” Kleiss said.

“Any changes the government chooses to make will need a significant transition time.”

In 2022, agreeing that changes were needed to the Code of Welfare, the sector delivered its proposals to NAWAC.

These included reducing the maximum time farrowing crates can be used from the current 33 days to no more than seven, increasing the minimum space allowance for grower pigs and no longer allowing sows to be housed in mating stalls.

“Our proposals are based on a rigorous, in-depth review of contemporary pig welfare science and good practice,” Kleiss said.

“They are significant, meaningful and collectively demonstrate welfare standards that go beyond all major pork-producing countries such as the United Kingdom, European Union, United States, Canada, Australia and China.”

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