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Greens Say Pork Labelling Urgently Needed

by 5m Editor
21 May 2009, at 9:23am

NEW ZEALAND - The Prime Minister needs to step in and requite the clear labelling of pork products so consumers can act in good conscience and buy humanely reared pork, Green Animal Welfare Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

“Consumers have a right to know how their pork has been raised, just as they can find out whether eggs are free range, caged, or barn raised,” Ms Kedgley said.

“The Pork Industry Board is refusing to introduce this labelling voluntarily. The Minister of Agriculture has no responsibility for consumer labelling. That is why John Key needs to personally to step in and demand it,” Ms Kedgley said.

Prime Minister John Key says he found television footage of intensive pig farming "very, very disturbing" yet the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has found that the farm in question was doing nothing illegal. Until the industry can be reformed, pork labels should clearly distinguish between free range pork and pork raised on farms using sow crates. Currently, there are only a handful of brands clearly labelled as free range pork or carry the “SPCA Approved” logo.

Ms Kedgley said that while labelling was an important immediate step to take to enable consumers to make an informed choice when buying pork products, getting rid of the cruel sow crates and cages was the only permanent solution.

“The Minister of Agriculture has the power, under the Animal Welfare Act, to phase out sow crates. He does not have to wait for the National Animal Welfare Advisory committee to make a recommendation.”

Ms Kedgley’s previously unsuccessful Consumer’s Right to Know Bill contained clauses which would have required accurate labelling of all meat production processes, including pork. At the time, both Labour and National refused to support the rights of consumers to know where their food was coming from and how it was produced.

“That resistance to change might be coming unstuck as we speak, so I will work to re-instate this aspect of my Member’s Bill and seek the leave of the House to introduce it if the Prime Minister fails to act decisively,” Ms Kedgley added.